[#pictureLent] February 27: NARROW

By John Barolo
Hyde Park United Methodist / Communications
Tampa, FL

First, read Matthew 7:13-14

I’m a foodie. I love food. I love learning about food, nutrition, cooking, kitchen tools and especially ways of cooking that our grandparents would have used. I enjoy putting into practice all that I learn when purchasing and preparing foods for myself and my family.

My daily routine is filled with things about food. Cooking meals for my family, preparing lunches for my boys, my Facebook feed and even my email inbox. All of these things cause me to think about food. 

I have intentionally created connections between what I learn about food, and how I use food in my life. I am fully aware that there is a wide variety of “foods” to choose from and that many people would tell us that in end the end, it doesn’t really matter what you choose anyways.

Following Jesus and his teachings must also be intentional for us. Daily, we are bombarded with a wide variety of messages telling us how to best live our lives. Jesus says to “Go in through the narrow gate.” This is no coincidence that we receive this warning near the end of the Sermon on the Mount. 

It’s one thing to read about loving our enemies, praying, judging others, being peacemakers and worrying. It’s another thing to have a narrow focus on Jesus’ teachings and intentionally live them out. 

Always remember that Jesus did not tell us to learn everything by ourselves. We find community with others in the body of Christ. It is in community that we are best able to walk towards the gate, because when we try to do live life on our own, we get pulled back to onto the wide road.

Prayer: God, May I always remember that I do not walk alone in life. Help me remember that Jesus walks with me toward and through the narrow gate.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1.  What is my daily routine filled with?
2.  What is (at least) one way that I can be more intentional about incorporating Jesus’ teachings into my life?
3.  Which teachings of Jesus in Matthew chapters 5-7 are the hardest for me to live out?