As our family sat around the table, I recall, even though we were quite young, my father saying: “I would love to have a mussel pie.” It stayed in my mind.
Before long, we were in our rowboat roaming the bay fairly near our home when we “chanced” upon some mussels. Remember, there was such a thing as a rowboat and we actually rowed it. Thus, we decided to make good on the mussel pie that dad wanted.
We worked quite hard gathering the mussels and managed to get a gunnysack almost one-third full. Sack over the shoulder, we carried the mussels about a half-mile up the hill to our home. We were quite proud of our achievement, especially in light of the fact that none of us liked mussels except for bait when we went fishing.
When our father arrived home, with faces beaming we presented the mussels. He looked at us, thanked us, and removing his pipe proceeded to explain that these were “sand” mussels and were too soft to be used for pies. We now had the unpleasant task of digging a hole and burying the mussels deep enough that the dogs would not dig them up when they started to rot. What we had done with good intention turned into a worthless effort. Only mussels that were attached to the rocks would have had sufficient meat of the right caliber for pies.
I have been reading today in three passages of Scripture that had to do with people who had good intentions. The first was a man who was “rich… young… a ruler”. This fellow had high morals, a good man. Yet, he sensed that he lacked something and so he asked Jesus, “what good thing” do I need to inherit eternal life. (Luke 18:18-34) Jesus saw in his heart idolatry. He worshipped money and went away sorrowful because that was more important to him than Jesus.
Two ladies who followed Jesus, Mary and Martha, had him in their home. One was the perfect hostess, the other a perfect disciple, listening to His teaching at His feet. (Luke 10:38-42) There are a number of lessons here; I note this one: “Mary has chosen the good part.” (verse 42) While food was a necessity, it is obvious that she exceeded what was “necessary” and missed out on things of greater value, eternal treasures. One may have money in the bank, but you cannot bank on that for eternity. One writer put it “cumbered but not communing”.
The Apostle Paul said: “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) Though he had enumerated the things he saw as important in the past, they had been replaced with: “not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” (Philippians 3:9)
Good intentions will not get one to Heaven. You come in God’s way, through Jesus Christ, or you do not come at all. While our intentions were good, they did not suffice. Your intentions, if not unreservedly submitted to Jesus Christ, will leave you short of eternity with Him in heaven. You can believe and practice what you want, but apart from God’s way, you will be left wanting.