close is not in
"The reign of God is like a buried treasure which a man found in a field." —Matthew 13:44
Just because we're in the Lord's dragnet doesn't mean He will retain us at the end of the world (Mt 13:47ff). Just because we're in the Lord's field, it doesn't mean we are God's wheat. We may be weeds to be burned (Mt 13:40). Just because we go to church doesn't mean we are in God's kingdom. Doing Christian things and living in the midst of Christians doesn't make us Christians (see Lk 13:26-27).
We are Christians and followers of Jesus, the King of the kingdom, when we sell all that we have to buy God's kingdom (Mt 13:44, 46). We are living life in Christ when we by faith give our lives to Jesus, and are no longer living for ourselves but for Him Who died and rose from the dead for us (2 Cor 5:15; Gal 2:20). Being close to Christians doesn't make us Christians, but being close to and in Christ makes us Christians.
To those merely active in Christian activities, Jesus will say: "I never knew you. Out of My sight, you evildoers!" (Mt 7:23) To those living for Him alone, Jesus will say: "Come. You have My Father's blessing! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world" (Mt 25:34). Live in His kingdom.
Prayer: Father, may I seek first Your kingdom and Your way of righteousness (Mt 6:33).
Promise: "We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love" Him. —Rm 8:28
Praise: Alleluia! Jesus is risen! "Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:54-55) Alleluia!
Reference: (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Seek First the Kingdom.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 28, 1998
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 1, 1998