Drop the Sack!
(From Our Daily Homily by F. B. Meyer)
Strive to enter in at the strait gate - Luke 13:24
The question which the disciples asked was for their gratification and curiosity. Men have always been curious to know what will be the numerical result of the Redeemer's work. But to such questions the Lord had no reply. He was only eager that none of those whom He loved should miss the full measure of blessedness that was within His reach; therefore He bade each be sure of entering the narrow door, so narrow that there is no room to carry through it the love of self, the greed of gain, the thirst for the applause and rewards of the world.
We may be saved from the penalty of sin by one single glance at the Saviour, who lived, and died, and lives forevermore; but we cannot be saved in the deepest meaning of the word, in the sense of being delivered from the love and power of sin, unless we are willing to enter through a door, so constructed and straight, that it seems impossible to effect an entrance. Art thou willing for this, willing to leave behind thy amassed and hardly-gained treasures, thy luggage and impedimenta, thy jewels and gew-gaws, thy certificate of merit and credentials, thy notions of self-importance, the weights which thou hast carried so long, the pillows with which thou art always sparing thyself from the stern realities and efforts of a noble life? If thou art willing for this, and prepared to strive, even to the rending of thyself asunder, then thou shalt be saved from the love and tyranny of that wild, dark power, which, hitherto, has always dragged thee downward.
It is not enough to eat and drink of the blessed memorial supper, nor to listen to the voice of Jesus teaching in His Church. Many may do all this, and yet never be included in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Note: I am reminded of the image in Pilgrim's Progress by Bunyan where Christian has been troubled by a heavy sack which he has been carrying. He gets to a narrow gate and through it he sees the Cross. He is compelled to set down his load, his sin, as he looks ahead. The very same image is also found in the movie The Mission starring Robert DeNiro. It is set in Conquistadore times in South America. DeNiro has resolved to climb a cliff beside a waterfall. He is headed for a native village where a Jesuit mission is being established. He wants to become a different man. But he cannot make the climb with his load strapped to his back. The natives are entertained by his efforts and finally cut away the sack. As he watches it fall to the waters below, he knows that he is free.