The final question in Luke 6 leads to Jesus telling the parable of the Wise and Foolish builders. (Luke 6:46-49) This question possibly sums up all the questions God ever asks us. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?’ (Luke 6:46) At the heart of this question is the connection between what we say and what we do. It’s easy enough for us to pledge allegiance to Jesus with our words, to call Him ‘Lord’ with our mouths. But what really counts is doing what He says. Jesus once told a parable about two sons. The first son was asked to go and work in his father’s vineyard, and initially he refused. Later, he changed his mind and went. The second son was also asked to go and work and promised he would. But he too changed his mind and did not go. (Matt 21:28-32) Jesus asked the question, ‘Which of the two did what his father wanted?’ (Matt 21:31) The answer is obvious: the first son. In the same way, Jesus said, those who seem to be religious might not be the ones actually doing what God wants, whereas all those sinners and tax collectors were entering the kingdom of God, for they repented and actually listened to what God was saying.
We can only really truly say we are Jesus’s disciples if we are not only listening to Him but doing what He says. It’s not enough to be a theoretical disciple. It’s not enough to talk the talk if we are not walking the walk. We must practise what we preach. We must live out our faith in our everyday lives. As James put it, faith without works is dead (see James 1:22, James 2:26).