Blessed… The Easy Way

“Go in through the narrow gate. The gate that leads to destruction is broad and the road wide, so many people enter through it. But the gate that leads to life is narrow and the road difficult, so few people find it” (Matthew 7:13-14, Common English Bible).

Given a choice, I will almost always take the path or least resistance. I don’t want things to be more difficult than they have to be. If one bike trail is straight up a hill and the other goes around the hill but is a rougher road, I might agonize over which path to take because neither looks easy. Yeah right! Who am I kidding. If you know me you know I am not likely to be on a bike path at all. The far more likely course of action would be to get in the car and drive!

If I have to clean up the kitchen after dinner, I am more likely to use the dishwasher than I am to wash the dishes in the sink by hand. I am not going down to the creek to wash my clothes on a rock, nor am I going to use a washtub and scrub-board. The washing machine does the job very well and it is a lot easier. For that matter I am not going to hang up my clothes on a clothes line either. I don’t even have a clothes line. Further, I don’t even wash my dress shirts. I send them to the cleaners to have them washed and pressed. I hate ironing and this is absolutely the easy way out.

I also know I am not alone. Just about anyone I know, and just about anyone in American society is going to do what I do when it comes to many of the rather mundane tasks of life. Most of us want to take the easiest path.

That doesn’t mean it is true for everyone. My oldest son went into the military after graduating high school. He definitely didn’t take the easy road. Instead he choose the Marine Corp because he “wanted the challenge.” But, he also didn’t take things as far as he might have. He didn’t try to go into special forces either.

Sometimes, however, the easy road is not the best road. Sometimes we need to go the more difficult way because we will be better for it in the long run. I can get away with the easy route when it comes to having my dress shirts washed and ironed. That being said, the easy road is not the best course of action to take when it comes to matters of faith.

Just as Wayne sought the challenge when he entered the Marine Corp, we need the challenge of the difficult path because the road less traveled, the harder way means a better opportunity for faithfulness. It is the road that leads to life.

Too many people believe that once they come to faith life is going to get easier. It just doesn’t work that way. No where in the Bible does it say that living out the Christian faith is something easy. Quite the opposite is true. Our lesson today, two short verses, should open our eyes. Living the faith is not the simple thing to do. It is not the easy thing to do. We will be challenged and it will happen all the time.

I think at this moment in history, it is more difficult to live out the faith than it was earlier in my life. Many people in our society resent the faith. They test our faith. They push to see how far we will go. Scripture is clear. We can’t compromise. We can’t take the path of least resistance. That path leads to destruction. Going the hard way leads to life.

I can get away with taking the easy way when it comes to getting from point “A” to point “B.” I can get away with the simple solution when it comes to having clean shirts. But to live in the Kingdom of God, the hard road is the way to go. No one ever said their wouldn’t be obstacles along the trail. Thankfully, we don’t travel this road alone. We are blessed along the way to share the path with one another and we are also joined by an omnipotent and loving God who will see us down the train.

What obstacles do you face as you walk the difficult path of faith?

Have a blessed day in the Lord and share that blessing with someone along the way.

Joy, Peace and Thanksgiving,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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