Life In The Vast Lane
February 25, 2023
When riding up an escalator at the Rainier Bank in Tacoma, Washington several years ago I overheard a short conversation between two young men riding on the down escalator. The conversation went something like this: First Guy: "Want to go out and do something tonight?" Second Guy: "Sure!" First Guy: "What-a-ya want to do?" Second Guy: "I don't care. I'm up for anything!" "Hummm," I thought. Pretty risky philosophy of life." Being up for anything can bring you down to nothing. It's what I call "Living in the Vast Lane." the popular path; the path of least resistance.
A decision or a "choice": Life never stands still. We are continually standing at the crossroads of a decision. "Do you have trouble making decisions?" asked one man of another. "Well, yes and no" was the reply. In our text, Matthew 7:13-15 Jesus challenges his doubters to a decision as he asks them to picture themselves standing before two gates. A narrow gate and a wide gate, the decision was which gate to enter.
Many years ago a man by the name of John Oxenham wrote: "To every man there opens a way and ways and a way; And the high soul treads the high way, and the low soul gropes the low; And inbetween on the misty flats the rest drift to and fro; But to every man there opens a high way and a low; And every man decides the way his soul shall go." (quoted from William Barclay's Commentary on Matthew, vol. 1, P. 278)
"Enter the narrow gate" challenges Jesus. Someone in the crowd, who has obviously been watching too many game shows on T.V. shouts: "Is there a third door?" Jesus offers them and us only two doors or gates by which we may determine the direction of our lives:
The wide gate is SELF: "I did it my way!" The narrow gate is Christ: "All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust him, in his presence daily live."
The broad road is the "I'm up for anything" road, the path of least resistance. The easy way. The peer-pressure-pathway. Lots of company on this road: "Many enter through it..."
The narrow road: (More than salvation, but all of life). The hard way. The way of discipline, the way is narrow because it does not provide a lot of worldly latitude. Ease does not come without toil. Picking up requires a lot of setting down. A teenage girl attended a concert of a famous pianist, and afterward made her way to the front of the auditorium to talk with the lady. "Oh," she exclaimed to the famous musician, "I would give anything to be able to play the piano like you." "Would you give 9 hours a day?" was the pianist's reply. Look around you. Who will change in the next ten years?
Jesus said the gate we enter through and the road we travel will dictate our destiny. The "broad road" leads to destruction. The loss of all that is precious. The loss of all that we clung to. The "narrow road" leads to life. The gain of all that is precious. Treasures laid up in heaven. The fruit of a disciplined life. "Only a few find it!"
Being up for anything may bring you down to nothing. "Enter (life) through the narrow gate," said Jesus. Choose the Way of the Savior. The Disciple way, leads to the broadness of Heaven itself.
Until Next Time,
Pastor Joe (1940-2021)