They say that closeness only counts in horseshoes. A miss is as good as a mile in most things of life. It is heartbreaking to almost win and yet lose, yet it happens every day in sports as well as in every day life. The horse that loses by a nose ran just as far and almost as fast yet the winner goes to the winner’s circle. The golfer that loses by one stroke still loses and that stroke could have been a ball that failed to drop as it reached the edge of the cup. In the business world a million dollar bid can be won or lost by as little as a dollar.

In so many things in life there can be only one winner and of necessity everyone else is an ‘also ran’, but when it comes to things of God this isn’t so. Just because Abraham, Daniel and Moses will be in the Kingdom is no reason we can’t be there also. So far as God is concerned, there’s room enough for all who will obey His will, yet there are some who are going to be close, but not close enough.

We recall Jesus’ words to the young man when he said, “Thou art not far from the Kingdom of God.” Here was someone who had spoken discreetly. Let us hope that this particular scribe who was close made it the rest of the way to the Kingdom of God. We remember another who was close yet evidently not close enough. King Agrippa after listening to Paul preach declared, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” We wonder how many people have almost been persuaded to be baptized but never were. Paul brought several to the brink who evidently then turned back to the cares of this world. As Paul reasoned of righteousness, temperance and judgment to come, we are told that Felix trembled. He was close, but not close enough.

We who are in the Truth, who have renounced the world and given our life to Christ, how close are we to the Kingdom of God? In the parables Jesus told, we remember that not all the seed was in good ground, some was stony, among thorns and thistles. Close, but not close enough. The foolish virgins at one time had oil and they all had lamps; close, but not close enough.

Assuming we know the Truth, have been baptized and attend the meetings regularly, how close are we to the Kingdom of God? How tragic to be among those Jesus tells us about who will say, “We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.” These would be Christadelphians who were faithful in their attendance at the morning meetings, who attended the Bible lectures, perhaps even gave the lectures, yet cast out, for Jesus will say, “I know you not whence ye are; depart from me.” Close, but not close enough.

Why? Why will some brethren and sisters who spent a lifetime in the Truth be turned away by Jesus when he comes? The reasons may be as varied as the people to whom they apply. This we do know, the verdict will be just. Perhaps not enough love will be the main reason most who are close but not close enough will be turned away. Paul talks about giving our bodies to be burned and bestowing all our goods to feed the poor all in vain due to a lack of love. Surely people so dedicated as to do these things will be close, yet not close enough. It is certain that not everyone in the Kingdom of God will have the same rank, some will be over five cities and some ten. Some will have just barely made it and some will just barely miss. Are we giving our life in the Truth everything we have, trying with all our might, or are we just going along trying to just barely be accepted by Jesus since we would all be content with any place, so long as we are accepted? Perhaps with this attitude we may find ourselves, instead of just barely being accepted, among those who were just barely rejected. Peter tells us to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”