Not everyone who cries “Lord, Lord” will be saved
The great Saint Seraphim of Sarov removes the veil of the mystery for salvation. He has left us a great and precious inheritance, the “Conversation with Nicholas Motovilov”. Truly the Lord revealed this at a time of great need, a time when faith is waning and the hearts of men have grown coldest.
St. Seraphim meditated on the words from today’s Gospel lesson from St. Luke:
But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:
He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.
But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.
Now when He concluded all His sayings in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum.
Now behold the richness of the Saint’s words, words of more than simple profit, words of guidance leading to eternal life:
Now I will tell you about myself, poor Seraphim. I come of a merchant family in Kursk. So when I was not yet in the Monastery we used to trade with the goods which brought us the greatest profit. Act like that, my son. And just as in business the main point is not merely to trade, but to get as much profit as possible, so in the business of the Christian life the main point is not merely to pray or to do some other good deed. Though the Apostle says: Pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17), yet, as you remember, he adds: I would rather speak five words with my understanding than ten thousand words with the tongue (I Cor. 14:13). And the Lord says: Not everyone that says unto Me: Lord, Lord, shall be saved, but he who does the will of My Father, that is he who does the work of God and, moreover, does it with reverence, for cursed is he who does the work of God negligently (Jer. 48:10). And the work of God is: Believe in God and in Him Whom He has sent, Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:1;6:29). If we understand the commandments of Christ and of the Apostles aright, our business as Christians consists not in increasing the number of our good deeds which are only the means of furthering the purpose of our Christian life, but in deriving from them the utmost profit, that is in acquiring the most abundant gifts of the Holy Spirit.
What is the point of our lives? Are we to merely pass our time idly or in pursuit of gain? What gain is there that lasts? What gain is there that gives unending joy? We are to seek that which is most needful. We are to seek the greatest spiritual profit. Increase our deeds: prayer, fasting, almsgiving, supporting the downcast and weary; and thus garner greater wages for our labors. But we must be ever mindful of the purpose of these works for these are the works of God, as the Saint tells us. Though there be many in the world who do good deeds yet are unbelievers, their works do not obtain the greatest profit, for they are done selfishly and not for Christ’s sake. They may have worked to obtain the second great commandment to love their neighbor, but they have missed the first and greatest: to love our God will all of our heart, mind, and soul.
Christians, remember, we must be more than Christian in word, but we must be Christian, in word, deed, and thought, leaving “nothing on the table”. This is the greatest profit, this is the direction, and this is the way leading us to salvation.