The Narrow Path

Matthew 7:13b… and broad is the way that leads to destruction,


An old man was traveling a deserted pathway. Many would say he deserved a rest. Not many pilgrims traveled this highway any longer. The road was narrow, and a broader road had been constructed by the country's ruler  seemed to parallel this narrow path. Most travelers chose the broader path beliving the paths to be similar. It was easier to travel, not too steep,  plenty of entertainment, food, lodging, and there were no rivers the travelers had to cross. Again, it appeared to most travelers that both paths arrived at the same destination.

It was evening; it was exceptionally cold or a least it felt that way to the old man’s face and hands. The skies were gray and all his bones ached. He had been traveling this same road for many years, and he had safely crossed the many streams on countless occasions, but when he approached this next stream, it brought back some old vived memories. It was at this very stream he lost his footing and was almost swept away in this sullen tide. He had slipped on a rock. He then pointed to that same round rock in the middle of the stream. The mossy one that shifted under his weight. He was quickly pulled down in the undercurrents. He remembered being under the water and feeling all alone. He tried to get back to the surface but something kept pulling him back down. How he got up to the surface and to the other side of the stream is still very much a mystery. It was almost like an unseen hand had reached down and pulled him from certain death. Wow, that day was over 61 years ago, but the events of the day seemed as if it were yesterday. From that day forward, he always watched his steps when crossing a steam. Yes, he no longer feared crossing these waters, but he was always pleased when the passage was completed.

Today however, the old man knew he was coming to the end of his journey. He would never again would cross this sullen stream. He liked that thought. He crossed the stream quickly and was safe on the other side. He stopped and did something which he had not done before; he began building a bridge to span the tide. The decision came instinctive and automatic. He had not made plans to build a bridge when he started out earlier that morning. What compelled him to do so now? It then dawned on him. It was the young man, the fair- haired youth he met earlier on the path. The boy was not yet a seasoned traveler, for the old man had outdistanced him in a very short time. When they first met he took time to share with him  what he had learned over the years of his travel, but the young man seemed preoccupied. His mind was somewhere else. The old man warned the young man about this very river, the mossy rock, and told him how to cross this stream in a safe manner, but he could tell the boy was not listening. The old man wished him well and continued on. As he was working on the bridge, he thought again about the conversations with the boy, but what he remembered most was the boy’s shoes. They were more like dress shoes, not shoes for traveling. The boy knew nothing, thought the old man, but then the old man remembered that day a long, long time ago when he first started to travel this same path. He wore the same shoes this boy was wearing today. Of course, back then, he liked them; they were shiny and colorful, and it made him stand out in crowed, but they were almost completely responsible for causing him to slip in the middle of this very stream. He then thought back and remember the day when he first purchased the new shoes he was wearing now.