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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sermon on the Mount, Day 36 of 40: The Narrow and Wide Gates

Matthew 7: 13-14
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

When I was 7 or 8 years old, my father asked me to take the hammer to my brother who was on the other side of the yard.  I did not want to walk across the yard so I threw the hammer to my brother.  I remember seeing the hammer leave my hand and watching it, as if in slow motion, fly through the air toward my brother, knowing that I had made a bad choice, wishing I had not thrown the hammer, wanting that hammer to return to me.  But the hammer continued on its slow course toward my brother's head and struck him just beneath the eye.

Life presents us with a constant stream of choices.  Researchers say that the average adult consciously makes about 35,000 decisions each and every day.  Life will not let us stand still.

For many of these choices there is a right way and a wrong way, a "high" way and a "low" way, a hard way and an easy way, a moral way and an immoral way.  People enjoy shortcuts.  But in the spiritual realm, there are no shortcuts.  There is no easy way.  

I have seen many gifted people in the sports world, the acting world, the political world, the business world, who have tried to take the easy way or went down a dark path, and they squandered their gifts.  The skills of someone who is truly gifted are a wonder to behold.  But what we do not see are the long hours of practice and the attention to details that are required to reach their level of excellence.

Excellence, either temporal or spiritual, is never arrived at by taking the easy road.  The easy road may look inviting, but what the easy road invites are things that cause us to be led astray, things that cause us to fail, things that rust and are soon broken.

The hard road looks difficult, and it is, but it leads to excellence and to life.  Everything worth having, all eternal things, are found on the hard road.

Which road do we take?  That is the decision we are really making 35,000 times each day.

Tomorrow we study good fruit and bad fruit.

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