In September of ’92 I had the pleasure of spending two weeks in Israel on a tour of Jerusalem and Galilee. The tour was led by a George Bates from Randalstown along with 2 guides, a Jew and an Arab. George was an absolute joy to listen to as he shared from the Bible everywhere from Solomon’s Colonnade, to Megiddo with En Gedi in between.
A moment I remember clearly was getting out of our air-conditioned coach on a desert road. The oppressive heat had us all reaching for head-wear in a vain attempt to find relief from the sun.
As we stood in the desert looking at the barren terrain George pointed across the other side of the valley at a green path which split the steep hillside in two. There must have been a spring high on the mountainside and the resulting stream had cut a single fertile pathway down the slope.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matt 7:14 NIV
George pointed out that a benefit of a narrow path is that it is easy to identify. Standing in a wasteland where any direction was possible and roads seemed to dissolve into the terrain the one thing we could all easily identify was the ‘narrow path’
Speaking of the Bible, Soren Kierkegaard* wrote
“We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined.”
Often I think when we are not sure what to do or what path to take it is because we do not want to follow the narrow path ahead of us. Instead we are looking for a path that suits our ambition, ego, abilities or desires better. We know the truth of Kierkegaard’s words, ‘our whole life will be ruined’ if we follow that path.
The fact remains that when in difficultly (and when at ease) there are things we understand clearly to be the narrow path; to humbly pray, to worship, to give generously, to speak truthfully, to act with kindness etc.
Chilly Chilton posted the above Kierkegaard quote in its broader context in a blog post called Scholarship really worth reading, as is the full text of ‘Kill the Commentators’ found in Provocations which is available in various formats free from Plough publishing here
Sorry if you've read this post before, Had to bring it over from old blog manually