As Paul and Carol pulled up to the entrance booth at a national park, they noticed that the tall ranger in uniform was standing outside the booth. He had been checking a visitor’s trunk before a family drove out of the park.
Ranger Tom turned and smiled at the senior couple as he reached for the door of the small building.
“Locked?! Oh, no! Could you back the car up please?”
Paul eased the car backward and the white-haired ranger mumbled, “There sure are easier ways to get to the office!” He pulled himself into the window like a gymnast starting a routine, followed by his lanky legs. “All better now!”
Paul chuckled. “I hope that doesn’t happen very often.”
“Just the second time this week.”
Ranger Tom smiled, took their pass, handed them a map and waved the couple off as they headed to a beautiful shady picnic area.
Jesus points out that his way is the less traveled path and may even be through a window. But the son of God himself sees into the window of our hearts and the path we have lived including our failures and victories.
The less popular route takes commitment—to God and his commands and his guidance on the spiritual path he wants for us.
In the words of the Son of God, Jesus, he said, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’
But he will answer, ‘I don’t know where you came from.’”
Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
But he will reply, I don’t know you or where you have come from. Away from me, you evildoers!’” [Luke 13:24-27]
Jesus was pointing out that following his way is a deliberate choice and not always an easy one.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father, who is in heaven.” [Matthew 7:21]
Jesus instructs further, “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]
The truth in such harsh, clear words! Is it so hard to get to Heaven? No. Is Heaven so populated only a few residences and spaces are left? No. Will we find all the do-gooders and righteous people we know here and now in Heaven eventually? No. What, then, is keeping many out of Heaven and eternal life?
- Good intentions not followed in action
- One’s own agenda above God’s
- Integrity issues
- The true condition of the heart
For besides following God’s will and way, each traveler on the path to Heaven needs to constantly evaluate and acknowledge wrongdoing, admit it, and accept God’s forgiveness. This was paid in advance by his son, Jesus Christ. For without changing from a wrong path and asking for forgiveness, a traveler is veering away from God on a path to destruction.
Constantly adjusting one’s path and aligning it with God’s plan for us is part of the journey. It makes us better people. It’s no different than a chef modifying ingredients in a recipe to make it over-the-top delicious; no different from a builder adjusting plans for unexpected surprises–like taking out a load-bearing wall and seeing it needs a steel I-beam to support the weight of the structure. It is no different than a quilter or designer making changes to create a better final result.
Like Ranger Tom, your path to God and acting on his will for you may be through a window, but it’s worth it!
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com and her speaking engagements. Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]