Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wreckage On the Narrow Road

Few things in life make me angrier than hearing a "Christian" preach a gospel of prosperity. If you are unfamiliar with such thinking, let me explain. The basic idea is that if we do enough, pray enough and especially give enough (money to the church where that preacher works) then we are on the #NarrowRoad that leads to heaven. If we will just do enough to earn God's love then God will love and bless us in ways we never thought possible- like with money, houses, cars and cruises! This theology states that if we do indeed find the path to following Jesus then we will be on easy street. Life will be all rainbows and unicorns here on earth, with pie in the sky by and by waiting just around the bend. The bottomline of this warped thinking is this- following Jesus down the narrow road makes life easy and wonderful.

To that I must say, "Uhhhh, NO! And also hell NO!" And more importantly, so does Jesus.

In John 16:33 the Master is telling the disciples that the narrow road is never easy. There are always going to be potholes and crazy drivers. What he actually says is "in this world you have troubles," but you get my point. Jesus spent many hours trying to help the disciples see that following him would lead to trouble. Choosing his path could mean losing your family and everything you hold dear. There are few earthly rewards for staying on the straight and narrow. "You WILL have troubles." And because the road is narrow, sometimes that means we must meet trouble head on. Even when walking with Jesus, sin and temptation are on the road. There is no avoiding it. 

My Grandpa Jones (who died in 1983) was a working man, a truck and boat mechanic in eastern NC. He told me a joke over and over again when I was a child, and I have never forgotten it. The names used were the names of 2 of his best friends, both truck drivers. My friends and I often used the punch line to describe dire situations. It goes like this...  

A man named Sam was applying for a job as a truck driver. He had passed the driving test and been through several interviews, and had arrived in the office of the "big boss" for one last sit down. The boss said he had one final scenario to present to see how Sam might handle pressure. He described the following situation: "You are driving on a steep mountain road. There are only 2 lanes. On one side of the road is a sheer rock mountain. On the other side is a 500 ft. drop. As you go around one of the big curves, you suddenly see another truck coming at you in your lane. What will you do. Sam?" Sam scratched his head and thought for a minute, and then asked, "Where's Rastus?" The boss asked him who Rastus was, and Sam replied that Rastus was his partner and constant traveling companion. A little annoyed at the question, the boss blurted out that Rastus was asleep in the back of the truck. Sam nodded, and then sat quiet for a moment. Then he gave the boss his answer- "I'd wake up Rastus."  The boss was dumbfounded. "What possible good could that do! Why would you wake up Rastus?" Sam smiled at the man, laughed and then replied, "Because he ain't NEVER seen a wreck like this!"

Sometimes life on the #NarrowRoad leaves us with no other choice than to wake up Rastus- or in our case, Jesus. No matter how hard we try, no matter how "good" we are, there's is going to be wreckage in our lives. After all, that is why a Savior was needed in the first place. We are all"wrecks." The blessings that come from the narrow road have nothing to do with material wealth or temporary happiness and everything to do with being rescued from the wreckage of our sin stained lives. So you go ahead and believe the preacher who tells you that if you are right with God there's a new Lexus in your future. As for me, I'm glad to know that as I travel the narrow road Jesus is always along for the ride. He's always with me and he has seen the wreck that is my life. And he loves me anyway. That is the real Gospel. Have a blessed say, my friends!

Because of Jesus,

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