Monday, December 17, 2007

The Narrow Gate

Matthew 7:13 Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. (14) For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. What does that mean? As I have stated before I believe the bible literally. That means if it says something I take it at face value unless something tells me otherwise. So when Jesus says that the gate is narrow I have to believe what He is telling me.

A narrow gate means to me that you can't be loaded down with a bunch of stuff and still get through the gate. It's pretty much you and the clothes on your back.
Stuff. We accumulate a lot of stuff going through this life, especially when you live in a western country like the USA. Stuff seems to be the central focus of our lives. Buying stuff, especially the latest stuff. Then once you buy stuff you have to take care of stuff. How much time do we spend just taking care of the stuff we have?

We moved into our home almost 14 years ago. We moved from a 2 bedroom apartment into a 4 bedroom, 2800 sq foot home with a 1/2 finished basement. When we moved into it we didn't have very much stuff. Now it seems that every nook and cranny is filled with stuff. Where did it all come from? Much of it came from having 6 children. We have our stuff and their stuff. We have stuff from every year they went to school. We have trophies and school papers, old sporting goods that might be passed onto a little brother or sister, and all kinds of stuff. We have Christmas cards from years past and reports from 4th grade. We have photo's and videos and tons of memories in boxes. We have a pool table that we can't play pool on because it has stuff stacked on it. Same for the ping pong table.

Stuff, stuff and more stuff. And now it's Christmas and we are out buying more stuff. More comes in and nothing goes out. How did it get this way? Neither myself or my husband grew up this way.

We have decided to get rid of stuff. It is going bye-bye. We have decided we want to live simpler with less stuff. We are finding new homes for lots of stuff or it's going in the trash. We started a few months ago and it seems we have hardly made a dent. We are determined though and will keep it up.

The point is that when you follow Jesus Christ it is more important to have Him than stuff. I don't need stuff, I need Him. The more stuff I get rid of, the more room I will have for Him.

I believe Him when He talks about the narrow gate. I can't expect to live my life for stuff and still get through the narrow gate. It's just not possible and eternity is much too long to get this wrong. I don't need the latest gadget, I need more time with Him and His word. I don't need to fill my house, my head or my time with stuff, I need to fill myself with Him.

How much stuff do you have? If something happened to you today would you fit through that narrow gate into eternity with Jesus Christ?

In my read through the bible I am currently in Ecclesiastes. King Solomon, who was the richest man in history, talks about stuff and how it is all vanity. It is for nothing. He says the only thing that matters is God. This is a man who had everything. Anything he wanted he had at the snap of his fingers. And all for nothing. It was just stuff.

Picture one of those old fashioned weight scales. The ones with 2 dishes that are supposed to balance when the 2 weights match. Put your stuff on one side and your relationship (time spent) with Jesus on the other side. Which one is the heaviest? Will you get through that narrow gate?


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