Matthew 7:13,14 “Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it. But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it.”
There are a lot of choices we make in our lives. We choose to study in school, or not. We choose to work hard, or not. We choose to open up to love or not. We choose a career we think that will help us find fulfillment, or not. We choose to follow Christ or not. So many choices, only one life.
I was looking for something that would express these choices we make and ended up with Matthew. This passage is buried among a whole bunch of teachings reflected in Jesus’ ministry to the crowds. There is a litany of teaching here, and if you are like me, you could spend a week in just a few paragraphs but this is a newsletter article and I doubt I have that much space!
So, why on Earth did I settle on this passage? Well, it seems to me I just choose the narrow gate with the difficult road, to be honest I have been doing that for a few years now. Probably a sermon in there. Seriously, we as Christians, when we make a decision to commit ourselves to a Christian life often find ourselves choosing the narrow gate and difficult road.
It might be as simple a making a commitment as a congregation during a baptism to help a child grow in Christ or as complex as volunteering to work with the finances of the church. It might also be as difficult as forgiving someone who has hurt you or as simple as being in private prayer for someone who needs God’s help.
So, why do it? Why choose the narrow gate, the rough road? Certainly it would be simpler to not get up and come to church, to not attend another committee meeting, to not bother feeding the poor, or caring for the sick, to not ask a friend to join you Sunday. It’s the same question I asked people when I was working in Africa during the Ebola outbreak, why are you doing this? No one was there to prove a point or out of obligation. No, they were there because of love and compassion. I was moved by their compassion for those in need as I am moved by our Lord’s compassion for all of us.
I know when I chose to pursue becoming a Pastor, it was a very narrow gate and yet over and over again I was reminded I won’t be alone, God will be with me. It’s the same thing when we chose a Christian life, we will not be alone. We know we will be cared for, although not always as we expect, and that we will never travel that difficult narrow road in darkness, as it says John 8:12 “ I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk into darkness, but will have the light of life.”
How about you? Have you passed through the narrow gate? Are you on the road? Perhaps you are still standing outside wondering which to choose. When John Wesley lead his small groups they would often start with “How is it with your soul today?” I think I’d ask, “ How’s the road you are on today?” Its a good question. Don’t be surprised if you hear me asking you.