May 18, 2011

Hey, I know you!

One of my favorite hockey players is Neal Broten, who is probably the most complete USA born and raised hockey player participating in all venues of hockey, from three State High School Tournaments (although he didn’t win) to winning the Stanley Cup. Broten is the only player to have played on teams that won the NCAA hockey championship (University of Minnesota in 1979), the Olympic Gold Medal (Team USA, 1980), and the Stanley Cup (New Jersey Devils, 1995), and numerous other personal awards including the Hobey Baker Award. Here is my photo taken with Neal at the 2011 Frozen Four in St. Paul, MN. 

We all have our favorite celebrities whom we admire. We fantasize at times, wishing that they would know us, and what we would say to them if we were spending time with them. But, when we actually get the chance to talk with them, we fumble over our words or stand back in awkward silence. Let’s face it, we long to be known by someone important and so we sometimes connect relational dots that are slim at best (the old “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”). 

For me, although I have briefly spoken with Neal Broten a few times over the years, my only “six degrees” is that I used to go to church with and play hockey with Neal’s cousin Rick Broten. I also have a friend who still occasionally plays hockey with Neal. But, if I went to Neal Broten’s house, he would not say; “Hey I know you; come on in!” Neal would not connect the dots and let me in simply because I know who he is. He would only let me in because he can say that he knows me.

One of the more sobering passages recorded in the Gospels of Jesus Christ is Matthew 7:23 where Jesus says; “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Did you catch that? Jesus said that He will say to some people; “Hey, I NEVER knew you”. 

Can you imagine the shock as those people (metaphorically) walk up to the gates of heaven thinking that Jesus will welcome them in with open arms because of all the great things that they did for Him (v.22 “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?”) and instead He says something along the lines of; “I never knew you; go away” 

Don’t assume that just because you go to church that Jesus knows you and has to let you in. The whole twenty fifth chapter of Mathew’s Gospel in the New Testament records stories that Jesus taught about the Day of Judgment: “The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins”, “The Parable of the Talents” and “The Sheep and the Goats”. They are stories that conclude with what we will hear as we are judged for what we did or didn’t do. 

Don’t assume that just because you go to church that you are actually on the path that is following Jesus. Jesus said: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are MANY who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are FEW who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 emphasis by me).
For me, although it would be great to hear Jesus say; “well done good and faithful servant’ (Matthew 25:23), I long even more to hear His voice call out my name and hear Jesus say; “Hey I know you; come on in!”

How about you? Do you long to know Jesus on that level; or more importantly to be known by Him? You can; starting right now. Jesus paid for the relationship when He shed His blood on the cross. But you need to: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2 Corinthians 13:5). 

Spend time talking with (praying to) God. Let His diagnosis of where you are really at relationally with Him today become a pivotal moment in your life to draw closer to Him; to become known by Him. Then, one day, perhaps you too can hear Jesus say to you; “Hey, I know you!”

Not if you don’t keep His commandments - 1 John 2:3-6

Are His – 2 Timothy 2:19
Hear & follow Him – John 10:27-28
Confess Him – Matthew 10:32
Are His Friends – John 15:14
Have names in Book of Life – Revelation 3:5
Will be on His Right hand – Matthew 25:34-40

Many who claim to know Him – Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 13:24-27
Those who fail to make proper preparation – Matthew 25:11-12
Those who deny Him – Matthew 10:33
Those who won’t do what he says – Luke 6:46
Those who will be on His Left hand – Matthew 25:41-46

"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

Watch: Broten Fights Gretzky 

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