(God said) "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." Matthew 15:8
My grandfather used to say, "Any job worth doing is worth doing well," which takes us to the sad story of Mr. A.K. Verma.
For decades Mr. Verma had boasted that he held a job as executive engineer at the Central Public Works Department in India. Yes, Mr. Verma had had a job, but you could hardly say that he had done that job well.
Actually, he had done his job very badly. This is why, against the protests of India's labor unions, Mr. Verma has been terminated. And if you're wondering why he no longer serves as an executive engineer of the Public Works, well, I can tell you.
Mr. Verma was canned because he hadn't bothered to show up for work since December ... that's December of 1990. It's true. Mr. Verma hadn't punched in at work for almost two and a half decades.
When an inquiry found him "guilty of willful absence from duty," it didn't bother him. When he was ordered back to work, he didn't go. Mr. Verma was proud to boast about his job, but his heart just wasn't in it.
This, according to Jesus, pretty much describes the Pharisees of His time and age. The Savior points out how those ultra-religious guys went through the motions of honoring the Lord; they made the sacrifices; they were proud to say the prayers at the proper time, but their hearts just weren't in their worship or their thankfulness. And, unless they changed, they ended up being eternally terminated.
Now so far this devo has spoken of an engineer in India and Pharisees from long-ago Israel. Maybe it's time to address the people we know who bear a resemblance to Mr. A.K. Verma.
You probably do know some folks like him, don't you? They claim to be Christian, but
* long ago, when they were confirmed, they promised they would be faithful until death, but they haven't kept that promise;
* long ago, when they were married, they said Jesus would be the unseen Guest in their home, but they've moved a few times since then, and never invited Him to come with;
* long ago, at Baptism they promised a Christian education for their children, but the little ones don't know their pastor's name, and he doesn't know theirs.
Yes, we all know and love these people. This is why I suggest we all might want to speak to our Mr. Vermas and invite them back to church and the Savior. By the Holy Spirit's power, let's get their hearts engaged in praise of Him who gave His life for their forgiveness and salvation.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks You have called me to faith in my Savior. Now I pray for those who are close to me, but may have wandered from You. Send the Holy Spirit upon us so that we may worship You with our tongues and hearts. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries