Anglican Morning Devotion, 8 December 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:12-14; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version.)
A famous American poet, Robert Frost, penned these words in his poem, The Road not Taken. Though a winner of four Pulitzer prizes in literature, it is doubtful that Frost was a Christian and, since we do not know if he was, it seems likely that he most certainly was not since a Christian makes his faith plain and known. All the Pulitzer prizes of the world cannot compensate for the wrong decisions regarding the security of our souls: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
It is doubtful that Frost intended the meaning I attach to these last lines but the meaning can clearly be applied to our own understanding of life’s decisions. I can tell you with personal assurance that the road we choose to take in life does, indeed, make all the difference.
Long before Frost penned these words, our Lord Jesus Christ had already pointed out the only two paths between which we must decide – either the Straight and Narrow Path leads to life with few travelers, or the Broad and heavily-trafficked path that leads down to destruction. In almost all decisions of life, these two ways confront us. The Road we take will make all the difference in the end to our eternal destiny.
When the path diverges in the forest of life, we look upon the well-worn path as well as the path that seems to be far less traveled. Which will you take? It is the nature of fallen man to always choose the path that is full of travelers over the path whose route is overgrown with grass. Man too often chooses to follow the crowd in neglect of the better path less taken.
The Broad Road is wide and full of travelers and it leads to a wide-open gate inviting entrance at last to damnation. It is an easy road to follow since it is a descending path. “ for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.” The animal instincts of mankind is to follow that path in the company of a multitude. Can so many be wrong? Well, yes, they can be and ARE wrong. Who among us is courageous to be the lone voice against a lynching in the assembled mob? It is so much safer to remain silent in the face of wrongs and injustice than to speak out for the righteous cause.
Our Lord’s counsel concerning the Straight and Narrow Road is clear. Consider the rewards that await the traveler of the Straight and Narrow Road compared with the dark and gloomy Broad Road. The Narrow Road is straight and righteous. It leads up to the Gates of Splendor rather than down to the darkness and solitude of Hell. “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Though the Narrow Way leads up, it is actually the better and easier trail because we have the Winds of the Holy Spirit to lift us on those wings of love and joy.
As Christians, we are saved by grace and by nothing of our good works or meritorious thoughts. (see Ephesians 2 et al) But we are called to make ordinary choices in life that will impact our value to both God and man – whether to have mercy or disregard for souls about us; whether to obey God in all things, or pick and choose our options from a personally advantageous point of view. “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” (1 Kings 18:21) and “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16 (KJV)
Which path do you prefer – that which is wide and full of people leading down to destruction, or the Straight and Narrow path, less traveled, leading up to life eternal?