But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life,
and only a few find it.
~ MATTHEW 7:14 NIV
I used to think this sounded very elitist. Only the special, only the chosen, only the few get to come to God. I’ve read that what it means is that few will choose it, even though it’s open to all. But I think there’s a whole lot more to learn in this verse.
Think about it. Why don’t people want to enter the gate? It’s not dark and scary, overgrown with weeds and vines that choke out the light, like a haunted house. Then again, I don’t think the gate is wide and sparkly and light, eternally propped open, with colorful flags, a vast open space and a castle beyond it, like DisneyWorld. No, it’s sized just right. For one person. One life, one soul, one decision at a time. Sometimes people call themselves Christians because they go to church, or they own more than one Bible, or they try to do the right things, or they’re not atheists so they must be Christians by default. In some circles, it’s become the popular thing to do. Wear a t-shirt, hang an inspirational plaque on your wall, and people will identify you as “one of them.” Some feel like they must be Christians because their parents went to church, or they go to hang out with their friends. But here’s the thing: God calls us as individuals. It doesn’t matter what our families do. It doesn’t matter if we had preachers in our lineage in generations past. It doesn’t matter if we come from a line of Buddhists and Muslims and atheists. God calls us, one by one. He speaks to us, one at a time. Individually. Personally. He woos you — yes, you. He made you, just the way you are. He gave you talents and opinions and experiences that are unlike anyone else’s. And He will not call you like He called someone else. But if you listen, He will call. He waits, just on the other side of that gate. He stands, arms open wide, confident and expectant. He doesn’t want you to walk through just because your spouse or friend does. That’s why the gate is not wide. It’s wide enough, though, wide enough for you. Sized so that you can freely walk through, as soon as you are ready. It’s not scary, and there’s no fanfare. It’s private, just you and He. You and the Lord. Don’t wait. Don’t think you don’t belong or you’re not welcome. Don’t be afraid. He loves you, and He’s there on the other side, waiting for you to say Yes, Lord. I want you, too. All you have to do is walk towards Him. Enter that gate. You’ll be amazed by what waits on the other side.
God enters by a private door into every individual.
~ RALPH WALDO EMERSON