It may be one of the best known and most beloved poems of the 20th century. Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken was cited by President John F. Kennedy when he spoke at Amherst College in 1963, just months before his assassination. Writer Bernardo Aparicio García notes that “Ours is not a poetry-reading culture, but then again, it’s not like we’re total illiterates. There are still a few poems out there that just about everyone seems to have read, and ‘The Road Not Taken’ by Robert Frost is probably the king among them.”
The poem begins with the image of “two roads diverged in a yellow wood,” as the narrator ponders which path he will chose for his journey ahead. In the end of course, he tells us that he “took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Those lines have inspired many through the years to dare to follow their own path and chart their own course.
Jesus of course also talked about taking the road less traveled. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord tells us to “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). John Bunyan’s classic allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress begins with one of the characters, Evangelist, pointing Pilgrim in the direction of the wicket gate when Pilgrim asks him “Withier must I fly?”
In Jesus’ metaphor, the wide gate sits at the beginning of the wide path that leads to destruction, while the wicket gate – the narrow gate – is situated at the head of the path that leads to life. One has to wonder if Jesus had Psalm 16 in mind when he talked about “the path of life.” In that psalm, David praises God for making known to him the path of life. The very next line in the Psalm says that the path of life leads us to the Source of life itself – the very presence of God. “In your presence,” David says, “is fullness of joy.”
Robert Frost seems to commend the road less traveled in his poem, although the conclusion is somewhat ambiguous. He imagines himself years in the future looking back on his choice with a sigh. A contented sigh? Or a sigh of resignation? After all, when Frost says his choice of paths “has made all the difference,” we’re never told whether the difference was a good outcome or not.
There is no ambiguity in Jesus’ statement. The wide path, the one most choose to travel, leads to destruction. The narrow path promises life and fullness of joy, although as John Bunyan rightly noted, the narrow way is still fraught with peril, temptation and hardship. There is a reason why so few choose it and why the path itself is narrow.
Everyone you know is asking this question: “What path will bring me life and fullness of joy?” King David knew the answer. It’s the path that leads us to the presence of God. When our life lacks joy, we can be sure we have wandered away from God’s presence. It is as we draw near to him that mourning is turned into dancing and that sorrow gives way to joy.
You will decide for yourself many times today which path you will take. Every decision you face will lead you toward God or away from Him. The path you choose and the steps you take will, as Robert Frost acknowledged, ultimately make all the difference. Choose wisely.
Last Sunday we invited you to help provide a Christmas gift for students at Arbor Christian Academy in the Dominican Republic. As of today, more than 40 students have been accounted for. Thank you for choosing to bless these children!
Remember, we need your Christmas card with a personal note for your child turned back in by Sunday, November 19. And if you haven’t given $40 to help cover the cost of the gift, you can bring a check on Sunday or click here to give on line. There’s a drop down box on the website for your gift. Choose Dominican Republic when you make your donation so we know your child’s gift has been accounted for.
And if you didn’t take a child’s name with you last Sunday, you can still select one or more children from the tree in our lobby this week.
Are you in the Redeemer online directory? Have you downloaded the app to your phone? Adding your contact info is easy to do. Follow the directions below, or contact Becky Perez for help. Beckyperez.email@example.com
Young adults, heads up. NxtGen meets next Tuesday.
Here’s the report on our October giving. As always, we thank you for your generosity!
October giving: $33,615
October operating expenses: $39,037
Year to date giving: $408,730
Year to date operating expenses: $432,795
Cash on hand: $80,407
Please continue to keep our financial needs in your prayers. If you have any questions about our finances, please reach out to me or to Tim Friesen.
We’re taking a break from our study of Jude to welcome our good friend Dr. Danny Hinton to Redeemer on Sunday. Danny will be taking us into the first ten verses of Ephesians 2 to help us reorient our thinking about what it means for us to live faithfully as Christians.
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!