Once in the cramped office, “this little bird decided ‘now is a good time to start flying;’ “ Gordon said, as the bird took flight and a game of “human dodgeball” ensued. In its frenzy, the bird smashed into a wall of the office and died.
“Worst. Story. Ever.” Gordon admitted.
But the bird’s struggle and death illustrate an important question, he said. Would the bird, which had obviously been someone’s pet, have been better off in the wild, or in a cage?
“What would lead to the best possible life for the bird?” Gordon asked. “To live freely, without restrictions, or to live with constraints?”
Gordon said Jesus posed a similar question in Matthew 7:13-14, as he was concluding what has come to be known as The Sermon on the Mount. Speaking to an audience of people with diverse backgrounds and experiences, Jesus knew that every one of his listeners, just like the students at Smithville Christian High School, are searching for something. “Everyone has a different story, but we are all searching for truth, we are all searching for life,” Gordon said.
Jesus told his listeners that there are two ways to live: the broad way and the narrow way.
“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 is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it,” the students read out loud.
The broad way is a life without rules or constraints, and fits well with our post-Christian, post-modern culture, Gordon said. “Live whatever way you want. There is no truth, so there are no consequences, do what you want, it’s all good.”
It’s epitomized in the acronym YOLO: you only live once.
“On the surface, it looks easy, it looks popular, it looks attractive. It’s tempting.”
Meanwhile the other road – submitting your life to God – is not as easy to follow and there don't seem to be as many people on it.
Travelling that road, “you might get made fun of, you might feel like you are the only one.”
But many of us don’t look at where the path we are on is going to lead, Gordon said.
“This Scripture is not talking about where we go when we die. It’s not talking about the end of life, it’s talking about lack of life.”
Gordon said when he was a teenager his parents’ marriage fell apart and he got kicked out of the house his mother shared with her new boyfriend. He moved in with his father, who didn’t care where he was, who he was with, or what he was doing.
“So I got involved with what looked good at the time,” Gordon said. Soon he was living on the street, using drugs and alcohol, committing crimes.
“At the moment, it seemed fulfilling, easy. Everyone was doing it.”
But in truth, he was experiencing hopelessness, “a lack of life.”
Gordon said he hoped that the students at Smithville Christian High School realize that Jesus is not lying about where the road leads.
“When you are at that party, in that relationship, at work, with this group of people – what road are you on?” he asked.
If it’s the narrow road, “keep going. This is the road that leads to the best possible life you could have.”
Even if you see things on the other road that seem tempting, fix your eyes on Christ, know the truth. What you are searching for is on this road.”
But it could also be that you are on the wide road, or that some aspect of your life is not being submitted to the LORD God, Gordon said. If that’s true, you need to know that eventually “it’s not going to fulfill you the way that you think it will.” It may seem fun in the moment, but it’s temporary. “If you are on this road, it’s not going to lead where you think it is.”
Gordon said some students may know the hopelessness, emptiness and brokenness that he’s talking about.
“But no matter how far you’ve gone down that road. No matter what you said, or what you did, Jesus is standing there with his arms wide open. He is still loving you. So what do you want: life or destruction?”
* * *
Members of student praise team Elucidate led in worship with “I Am Free,” “Great Are You Lord,” and “Multiplied.”
* * *
During Spiritual Emphasis Week, chapel is held every morning at 9 a.m. All are welcome to attend.
* * *
Here is a summary of the message in Mandarin.
马太福音 7:13-14。 你们要进窄门。因为引到灭亡，那门是宽的，路是大的，进去的人也多； 引到 永 生，那门是窄的，路是小的，找着的人也少。