One thing. Kind of narrows it down, doesn’t it? “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Mt. 13:44 (emphasis added)
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Mt.13:45-46 (emphasis added)
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” Jn. 14:6, (emphasis added)
One field, one pearl, one way.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Ps. 73:25-26
Nothing besides you God, you are my one thing.
When I first committed my life to Christ forty plus years ago, my friends were shocked at my transformation. They found it hard to believe that I could live without all of the pleasurable activities that we formerly pursued together. “How can you give up all the fun?” was a frequent question. The answer of course was quite simple: I had found true joy for the first time in my life – a deep and gratifying source of life that I didn’t need to drink, smoke, or manipulate to acquire. The exponential gain in my life reduced my former state to a negligible attraction.
The Narrow Gate
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Mt. 7:13-14
This pattern of the narrow gate leading to life, filled with vision and the restraint needed to facilitate its fulfillment, was modeled by Christ. “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Cor. 8:9
The human birth canal is pretty tight quarters for passage; thankfully it is designed for elasticity and the light at the end of the tunnel is a gaping four inches. Jesus literally chose the narrow gate didn’t he?
Eye of the Needle
Aside from the physical process there was the dimension of leaving the realms of glory to enter the broken limitations of humanity. Jesus went from omnipresence to: being in one place at a time, having to walk to get there, and getting tired to boot. Perhaps the angels wondered, as my old party friends did, “You’re giving up all this, for that?” In this case however, they had a point.
Jesus said that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Mt. 19:24 He used the camel because it was the largest animal regularly seen in Israel. Remember the context of this verse: Jesus had invited a man to follow him, with the promise of treasure in heaven. But the young man “went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” He was missing the one thing – that which surpasses all the wealth of this world.
The Greatest Treasures
“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Tim. 6:10 Loving anything above God is the root of all sorts of evil, weakens our faith, and eventually leads to sorrow. We pierce ourselves with many griefs when we choose the lesser treasures of the wide road.
The greatest danger in the “wide gate” is either the exclusion of God, or, in modifying the Gospel message to make it palatable at the expense of being non-transformative. The “narrow gate” is pure and cleansing, and I might add, wonderfully rich in transition.
When I am navigating a passageway of growth I sometimes think of it as “eye of the needle” change. “I don’t see how we are going to do this Lord”, I gasp. The disciples asked a similar question: “Who then can be saved?” Mt. 19:25 Jesus replies: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Mt. 19:26
Jesus made one thing clear didn’t he? The greatest mandate to fulfill is this: “‘Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’ This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is like it in importance: ‘You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself.’” Mt. 22:37-39 (TPT)
Restoring the first commandment, to first place, is an ongoing process of realignment for my heart. It’s the one thing needful.