11-22-2021 Daily Devotional
The Upper Room devotional reflection for Monday, November 22, 2021 comes to us from Ted Witham of Western Australia, Australia
22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.” Luke 13:22-30 NIV
“The Narrow Path”
Our village is crisscrossed by winding paths between the houses. Walls seven feet high protect the paths. I enjoy turning from the road through the narrow entrance onto the path because the wind drops, the sun shines a little warmer, and the gardens look brighter. I am amazed by the huge flowers of the dinner-plate hibiscus, and I look for the shining black king skink* moving away into the abundant ground cover. Out of the wind and extreme temperatures, the path is a sanctuary for me. Similarly, we need the focus of a narrow door to fully appreciate the sanctuary of our life in Christ.
The world offers us many competing treasures, but the only way we can be certain of lasting treasure is to follow Jesus through that narrow door where we join him on the path. This does not mean that we reject all the good things of the world. Instead, with Christ on the path with us, we are sufficiently focused so that we can appreciate their true value. Our relationships take on greater joy when we treat others with the love and care Christ shows us. Our perception of the world will be clearer when we remember the Creator who brings it into being. The narrow way is not primarily a restraint on our lives. Rather, it opens our lives to possibilities of living more fully with Christ.
*A King Skink is a large lizard found in Australia
Prayer Focus: Those who feel separated from God.
Thought for the Day: Following Christ through the narrow door allows me to live abundantly.
Ted Witham reminds us of the wise proverb that “Less is More”. I know that too often I focus on keeping up with all the “stuff” around me, instead of focusing on the great value of the relationships that nurture and enrich my life. Whenever I make the effort to see a friend or call someone whom I have been missing, my focus changes from all the “stuff” and narrows to the time I have with that person. These are indeed among the occasions when I experience God’s grace in my life, especially through the narrow, but wonderful path that leads to Christ. I invite you to call to mind a special time when you have walked through a narrow door and found special, enriching moments in your life.
Prayer: Lead us, Lord, through the narrow door onto the narrow path where we may better recognize and appreciate your gifts to us. Amen. –Ted Witham