In Matthew’s gospel, 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.”
I think this applies not only to eternal life. It is not difficult to see in the world that the most popular ideas lead to destruction. It is not difficult to see that when the majority of people are moving in a particular direction, that direction is precisely one that should be avoided. It is not a big leap of the imagination to consider that the road to true salvation is not the most popular. According to Jesus, the road that leads to life is narrow and constrained – it can be overlooked and it is not the most convenient.
I venture to say that this is truth that applies not only to eternal life but to everything else having to do with fulfillment. The way to go for sustainable prosperity and total wellbeing is not the most popular but a way that is found only by a few. It is a road less travelled because it is less found.
As I consider for example the issue of sustainable development in Africa through those lenses, I am of the conviction that the strategies that lead to true sustainable development are not the popular ones, even among sustainable development thinkers and practitioners. There would therefore be no competition for the strategies that lead to true sustainable progress since few there be that find it.
I am presently in the process of reading E.F. Schumacher’s Small is beautiful again and the strategies he proposed for ensuring true development in undeveloped areas of the world are far from popular – they address root causes. Among others for example, he proposed that so-called elites in developing countries do not merely consider themselves privileged and separate from the poor but that they would have an obligation to use their education and status not just to improve their own lot but the lot of their poor brethren.
I agree with his thinking and I think it is very much lacking today. This is also consistent with what I said before in my post, The faith we need. True faith should not be self-focused, for the Bible says faith without works is dead and faith works by love, which implies to me that the works of faith are acts of love radiating away from ourselves to others. So also, our education, our social status, our resources should not be self-focused but others focused.
The narrow road is one where we use what we have, what we are, not to serve ourselves but to serve others; not selfishly but in love. It is one in which we lay aside our pride and get down to work alongside our less privileged brethren in the realization that our fulfillment is bound up in their prisperity. On that road, there is no fear, there is no competition.
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