Have you ever considered that at times it is difficult to be a follower of Christ? Jesus himself sort of spells this out, “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 (Matthew 7:13-14 NIV).”
That broad and narrow gate language is rather haunting. It indicates that many of us will choose that broad gate but only a few of us will find the narrow one.
But what if…what if we chose to see this text as a roadmap? It sounds sort of counterintuitive but just maybe if life feels too easy then just maybe we’re living it through the broad gate.
Jesus was real big on using sheep examples. I do not have much experience with raising sheep but I have had plenty of experience raising hogs.
Back in the day, hogs would need to be weighed and given medications for parasites. Roundup day was a back-breaker.
The hogs would be channeled through a broad gate that narrowed to one lane. That one lane led to a narrow door where in theory only one hog could pass through.
In a perfect world, I could open the narrow door and one hog at the time would step on a scale platform. We’d jot down the weight, usually give a shot in the hip and peacefully send the hog on its way.
But the world is not perfect and neither are hogs. Mostly they would panic at the unknown which was on the other side of that narrow door!
When more than one hog decided to go through that narrow door, I would have a bad day. Sometimes two or three would piggyback each other and all manner of mayhem would commence on the scale platform.
And, hogs do not have a reverse. They will never back up and no amount of force on earth can persuade them to do this. So, the opposite door on the scale platform had to be opened and all those hogs had to be recycled back around.
For some reason when I read Jesus’ words about broad and narrow gates, I thought of those hogs. Only beneficial things were on the other side of that narrow gate.
However, in their fear and panic the hogs tried to make a broad gate out of a narrow one. In the process they were denying themselves incredible good.
I fear that we do the same. Today may be a good day to meditate upon Jesus’ words: Only a few find it.
If life seems off and out of balance then maybe we are in the broad flow of things. Maybe we have unfortunately stumbled upon the road most traveled.
If we have found ourselves in struggle mode, we do not need to work harder but smarter. If you are struggling, pause and consider: Am I using all the resources available to me?
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV).”
Yes indeed, some days it is difficult to be a follower of Christ. But compare that to a life without Christ.
My memory is scarred with a hundred hogs trying to force a narrow gate into fitting their needs. I think that our struggles begin when we try to force Christ to follow us instead of the other way around.