Scripture Reading: Genesis 17:1-18:33 / Matthew 6:25-7:23 / Proverbs 1:8-19
Life is filled with choices and sometimes the more choices we have, the more difficult the process. Someone once said, “When in charge, ponder. When in trouble, delegate. When in doubt, mumble!” There are many earthly choices but only two eternal choices. Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.” (Mt. 7:13,14)
Edwin Thomas was a small man with a huge voice but he was a master of the stage and had few rivals in the 1800’s. In New York City, he performed Hamlet for over 100 consecutive nights and won approval wherever he performed. In 1863, his two brothers, John and Junis, joined him on stage with John taking the role of Brutus in Julius Caesar. But this would not be the only assassination role for John as on April 14, 1865, he quietly entered the theater box and assassinated Abraham Lincoln. The brothers were Edwin Thomas Booth and John Wilkes Booth.
Edwin was never the same and the shame from his brother’s crime drove him into retirement. While waiting at a New Jersey train station, a well-dressed young man was pushed off the platform by the large crowed into the path of a speeding train. Without hesitation, Edwin locked his leg around the railing, grabbed the man and pulled him to safety. The young man recognized the famous Edwin Booth but Edwin didn’t recognize the young man. Edwin later received a letter from General Ulysses S. Grant who thanked Edwin for saving the life of the child of an American hero, Abraham Lincoln. The boy Edwin pulled to safety was Robert Todd Lincoln.
Edwin and John Booth had the same father, mother, profession and passion yet one chose life while the other chose death. Cain and Abel, Abraham and Lot, David and Saul all made different choices that affected their lives and their eternity. God’s narrow gate leads to eternal life while the world’s wide gate leads to destruction.
Sin is natural, easy and many make that choice to walk its broad road while holiness has its challenges, restraints and sacrifices. Squeezing through the gate requires meekness, mercy and a pure heart. The rich have difficulties entering, a child enters easily and our nature offers strong resistance. Entrance requires repentance of sins, renouncement of evil and the dismantling of pride. It’s a choice…
Two thieves crucified with Christ; both convicted of the same crime, condemned to the same death, equally close to the same Jesus. One chose to mock Him while the other chose to pray for mercy. Christ said nothing to the unrepentive thief but assured the repentive thief of forgiveness and eternal life. Some people have made some bad choices in life that have affected their relationships, finances, health, emotions and freedom. Thankfully, Christ came to save us and making that one good choice for eternity offsets a thousand bad ones on earth...The Choice Is Ours!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!