Friday, September 17, 2010
More From Matthew
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."
I always wonder why we miss these two verses. Oh we see them and read them plainly enough, but why is it that we are surprised to find that we (Christians) are in the minority? How is it that we seemed shocked that the way of the majority is not The Way?
It wasn't that many verses ago that Jesus compared us to salt and light. Is salt the primary ingredient in any food? Of course not. It is just a seasoning.
If we look at an image of the universe or of Earth taken from space, is there more light or more dark? There is always much more dark.
Jesus says that the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction...and many will take the easy way. He warns us that the gate is narrow and the way is hard...but it leads to life! And few will find this way...perhaps, even fewer will take it.
As I look at humanity, I am convinced that there are many that choose to ignore God's call--not because they don't believe in Him or His Divinity, but because they just don't want to live life on the narrow way. It's too hard. We like the easy way. We like it our way.
We go through life following the masses. They can't all be wrong, can they? Besides, it's easy...and it's fun. Sure, we hear stories about the ones that are suffering for Jesus. We're even inspired by them. Maybe a little outraged at their suffering and persecution, but that's them and we aren't being called on to suffer...or are we?
Maybe there isn't any suffering on our path because it is the broad path; the easy path. Maybe we're just fooling ourselves into thinking that we're following Jesus when really He is calling to us from a narrow path that branches off of the road that we're on. It looks like a lonely path and nobody else is walking that way. It looks to be narrow and difficult with rocks to climb and obstacles to negotiate. The wide road is easier and it looks like it's going in the same general direction. After all, we desire to find God; to serve Him. Isn't that enough?
That narrow, winding path has crossed this road before. Perhaps it will cross it again. We'll think about taking it then. For now, we're enjoying the easy way and the company of our friends--our "church" friends.
A short while ago, I was thinking about all of the people that I know that smoke. I'm sure that it's a very difficult habit to break, but let's face it--people smoke because they want to smoke. In spite of all of the evidence that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, emphysema, stroke and other health conditions, people choose to smoke. It's not that they disagree with the science--they just choose to smoke anyway.
I think that we respond to God's call to walk the narrow path the same way. It's not that we don't believe Him. It's not that we really think that we can do this eternity thing on our own. It's that we are just going to choose to do it our way...for now. We'll get on the narrow path later. We'll keep our eyes open and not let it get out of sight for too long. We'll call out to Jesus often enough to know where He is. But that's all we're really committed to...for now.
It's like we're watching Jesus, but not really following Him. We'll learn about the narrow way. We'll study stories of those that have walked that path. From time to time, we'll even try it out for a few miles...but it's hard. We grow weary. We digress. We decide that the broad way is easier.
Even though we never have a real encounter with God on the broad path, we're with people that talk about God. They're good people. Maybe if we just hang around with them, their goodness will count for something.
If it sounds like I'm frustrated,
I am tired of playing church.
I am tired of saying that I'm a Christian.
I'm tired of feeling like this is too easy.
And I'm afraid that I might be fooling myself and walking the wrong road.
Skip down a few verses. Here are the ones that truly trouble my soul:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"