Living with the End in View involves
Leaving the Crowd Behind
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. (Luke 13:28)
In this story, we see a situation from two different perspectives, from God’s side and the human side. A group of people who were refused admission in the kingdom will knock on a door, protesting, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets” (13:25).
The master’s explanation for locking them out was, “I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity” (13:25). Jesus said some will weep when they see themselves excluded, while God accepts “Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets” into the kingdom.
The protesting party was laboring under a misunderstanding. They thought following the crowds which thronged the master was enough to gain entrance. Jesus the healer was popular, and they were glad to bask in His glow, thus lending their approval to all He did and said.
Even today many of us are satisfied to belong to a group that honors Christ. We may join them in meaningful religious endeavors. We enjoy the many sermons. The local body gets our stamp of approval every time we visit. However, we miss out when we keep only a casual acquaintance with the local church. We may eat and drink with other members at picnics and potlucks, yet keep the Lord at arm’s length in our relationship with Him.
What is the difference between the rejected party and the people admitted into the kingdom? We get a clue to solving this puzzle in the words of Jesus before the above passage. Jesus had finished speaking about striving to enter through the narrow gate. Following the crowd is not striving to get in. Showing up for the potlucks and bingo sessions in good times doesn’t mean we’ll be committed to the welfare of the body in hard times. Enjoying the sermon does not mean we’ll obey it.
When the prevailing winds coax us to accept what God calls immorality, strive against it. Don’t applaud deviant sexual practices in the church. Don’t accept alliances with organizations that are enemies of God. Why entertain practices from the New Age when Christ has clearly shown Himself as the only Way, Truth, and the Life? Resist watering down the Gospel to accommodate sensitive, seeking souls.
Who will gain entrance? Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob represent those who will enter. They followed the Lord more than they followed the crowd. Their lives were characterized by faith and obedience. They had to strive because obedience meant costly sacrifices as they moved to unknown lands, trusted God for what they could not do, and rested in Him for an inheritance and reward they would receive only after death.
Strive to enter in. The crowd in Jesus’ day gladly ate and drank with people who preferred the easy way. They were pleased to listen to Christ when He passed through their town. They loved hearing His stories, but when they became hard to bear, they left Him. But His disciples continued long after the crowds had dispersed.
Are you striving to follow in the footsteps of faithful Abraham? Are you like Isaac and Jacob, trusting God for an inheritance to come that is not of this world? Strive against a crowd which calls you to the easy life of eating and drinking or compromising with the world. Take the narrow path that allows only two to travel side by side–you and your Master.
Living with the end in view is to leave the crowd and to follow Christ.
Steps of faith:
If you tend to go with what’s popular, stop and consider exactly what you really believe about the issue.
If the group you follow lacks a solid grasp of Scripture and a walk with the Lord, make friends of godly men and women who could give you a deeper perspective.
Ask the Lord to create in you a heart which stands against opposition.