(The following is the January 26 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Matthew 21 and pay close attention to verses 28-32.)
Lip service is meaningless. It may fool people temporarily, but it is eventually discovered. We see this in Jesus’ parable of two sons who talk and act quite differently. When the father went to his first son and told him to work in the vineyard, the son refused but later changed his mind and worked anyway. The other son first agreed to work but failed to follow through. The parable affirms the son who did the father’s will by working, not the one who promised but failed to act.
The truth applies in a work environment. What good is it for a coworker to promise to work but not attempt it? The promise is meaningless if not fulfilled. Similarly, if children agree to clean their room but don’t try, the parent isn’t satisfied with the commitment alone. Jesus warned, “tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you” (v. 31). How could this be so? The self-righteous religious failed to respond to God’s warnings, while those most despised in society repented and entered God’s kingdom.
Many people start their faith journey with good intentions. Their initial “yes” to matters of faith appears genuine. They say and do the right things, at least for a while. But if that follow-through fails to continue throughout one’s life, then the person has not gone into the vineyard to work as the Father demanded. The person’s initial “yes” is negated by the eventual “no.”
Don’t assume because you claim connection with a church or had a religious experience years ago that you are doing what the Father expects now and that your eternity with him is secure. Does your relationship with Christ thrive today, or was it in the past? Faithfulness to God should always be present tense, not past tense alone.
Compare your previous commitments to Christ with your current faithfulness. Is your relationship with Christ present or past?