Skip to main content

Two gates - one entrance

I have one gate on my yard fence and it is just big enough for us to pull our over-sized trash cans in and out on trash day, get the mower through from the back to the front, and bring in the fresh plantings in the wheelbarrow.  It isn't as wide as my neighbor's which can open big enough to navigate a camping trailer through.  Both gates are functional and both provide an element of security and privacy.  Yet, I am quite limited in what I can send through my gate compared to my neighbor.  On another note - I have no desire to park a camper in my backyard, so I don't really need all that wide of a gate anyway!  As we go through life, we will find some pretty "wide" spaces we get through without much effort, while other areas of life are seemingly "managed" by very narrow passages.  Those "narrower" spaces seem a little harder to find and a lot harder to get through - but what is on the other side is often quite rewarding.  A long time ago I remember seeing a movie which featured a "hidden garden" which could only be accessed through a quite hidden and small gate.  Yet, once found and access gained, the inside of the hidden garden was amazingly beautiful. I kind of liken the really good stuff God has for us to those spaces marked with the smaller and often partly hidden "gates".  Get through that gate and you are caught up in the rapture of the amazing stuff God has prepared specifically for our enjoyment!

You can enter true life only through the narrow gate. The gate to hell is very wide, and there is plenty of room on the road that leads there. Many people go that way. But the gate that opens the way to true life is narrow. And the road that leads there is hard to follow. Only a few people find it. (Matthew 7:13-14 ERV)

We can enjoy life in the vast expanse of the "wide gate" moments, but it is the "narrow gate" adventures which bring about the greatest of reward and blessing in our lives.  We actually "want" those moments more than we realize, despite how hard it may to "find the gate" and actually get into the place God has prepared for us.  We somehow think God's plan for us should be so easily known, like the neighbor's extra wide yard gate.  Yet, if we are truthful, God's plan is much more like my smaller yard gate, or even the gate of the hidden garden I described above.  Not everything "fits" into God's plan for us - we need to learn what needs to be left behind in order to "pass into" what God has for us within the "confines" of the gate!  God doesn't actually expect us to find the gate all on our own - despite all the energies we spend seeking that gate.  He doesn't hide it from us or make it narrow just to give us a hassle or two to overcome.  He might just hide that narrow gate a little to see how tenacious we will be in seeking his will for our lives.  He might be preparing a narrow opening into what will be the "best find" of our lives just because he has prepared those places just for us - not everybody, just us.

We all probably realize Jesus was speaking about finding our way into the kingdom of heaven by realizing he was that specific gate and he was contrasting the "way" into the kingdom as only through him, not our works, religious efforts, or other pursuits of "good" efforts.  He surely wanted his hearers to recognize there were two diametrically opposed ways of life - the wider gate representing the "wide" choice of living for self and pleasing self's many demands; and the narrower gate representing the "focused" choice of denying self and living for another - Christ himself.  Jesus uses many references throughout his teaching while ministering on this earth which seem to center on this idea of focus - narrowing the focus to reduce the variables in how we live. A narrow gate requires a little bit more focus to get through than the wiser gate does, doesn't it?  The narrower gate requires attention to the "load" we try to bring through it, as well.  Jesus always reminded those who had ears to hear what he was saying that their burdens didn't belong to them any longer - he was offering to unload them from those burdens if they's just stop long enough to get them totally unloaded.

As I said, the narrow gate means we cannot bring everything inside - maybe this is what God had in mind by making some of the most meaning moments available only through the narrow gate.  When we let go of what we have been hanging onto for so long, we might be able to pass into what he has for us - that beautifully prepared places and moments where God meets with us and imparts something special of his grace and presence within us.  We experience these moments not by bringing all the distractions in - we experience them by departing from those distractions and coming into the newness of the focus the narrow gate provides.  Maybe we can experience some pretty neat stuff through all those other gates, but we only experience the beauty and sanctuary of the "hidden garden" when we actually enter through the "narrow" gate!  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…