Everyone is on a journey: during the week we call it ‘career path’ or ‘corporate ladder’; when we’re with our employers we call it ‘professional development’, and it leads from recruitment to retirement.
If you are studying you may feel you are on a journey of discovery and if you are ambitious you may have a great map in your mind with markers that you want to reach by certain stages in your life. If you are competitive you may consider yourself in a race – long distance for sure, but a race nonetheless.
When times get tough, the path is described as rocky or hard and each step is a struggle. The harder it gets the greater the temptation to compromise, give up or take a short cut.
The Sermon on the Mount is an invitation to choose a particular path; narrow and underused, this path is the one to find. It’s a path where values are apparently upside down, inside out or back to front. The norms of behaviour are abnormal and the protocols madness. On the surface they do not make good business sense and are not designed to help you get ahead. But the Carpenter who drew up the route wants you to work with him and walk with him. As his sermon unfolds he will show you the details of the narrow path: how to follow its route, how to stay on it when conditions are unfavourable and how to avoid the pitfalls and negotiate difficult terrain. His invitation is to choose to work and walk at his pace, using his methods and style – all the time. Before you choose to start, he wants you to know what kind of road lies ahead, because once you start the course is set. The problem for many is that they think they can start on the path and then walk where they choose, so they walk with partners, colleagues and teams and think they can ignore the Carpenter. You cannot, if you are a Christian, walk the broad way. You cannot claim allegiance to Christ and work as a pagan.
Take a deep breath before you choose – and if you have chosen, stick around to see what you have done.
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
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