Many or Few?


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The question of the day: ‘Am I deceiving myself?

The word many is defined as; consisting of or amounting to a large but indefinite number and also as, being one of a large but indefinite number.

Conversely, the word few is defined as; consisting of or amounting to only a small number and also as, a special limited number.

Many or few… Am I deceiving myself into thinking I am of the few when in actuality I reside among the many?

Today we so readily consign just about everyone to being a member of the few when Jesus himself says it will be the opposite that is true.

Notice how Jesus responds to the question, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”. I can in my mind hear the person in their thinking here- “Come on Jesus, it’s not really true is it, that only a few are actually going to make it to heaven?” Surely there will be all those people around us who are not SO bad…

Luke 13: 22-24 Then Jesus traveled throughout towns and villages, teaching and making his way toward Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” So he said to them, 24 “Exert every effort to enter through the narrow door because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.

STRIVE! to enter in. Why? “Because many will TRY TO ENTER and WILL NOT be able to.”

Am I deceiving myself? I might present a fine image on the outside but what does my heart look like? I might talk a great deal about Jesus, but is He my all encompassing desire? In my secret place who am I?

Jesus continues…

Luke 13:25-27 Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, then you will stand outside and start to knock on the door and beg him, ‘Lord, let us in!’ But he will answer you, ‘I don’t know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will reply, ‘I don’t know where you come from! Go away from me, all you evildoers!’

Remember this is Jesus speaking and just for clarity- He is the head of the house mentioned there in Luke also. Jesus Himself will turn those away who were so confident they were of the few, those who had heard His words, partaken of His communion, sat often in the pews, witnessed the Gospel to others time and again. And yet, they were all the while firmly positioned in the midst of the many.

Am I deceiving myself?

Jesus concludes the thought…

Luke 13:28-30 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves thrown out. 29 Then people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and take their places at the banquet table in the kingdom of God. 30 But indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

It just recently occurred to me that there is something hidden in the phrase ‘weeping and gnashing’. I had always immediately associated it with the torment of hell, and it most certainly is that, but it is also something else. The gnashing of teeth is the gritting and grinding, the clenching of the jaws of those who absolutely and forever have and will hate God. Tormented, they look up and curse God from hell.

What then of the weeping? The weeping is that sorrowful mourning of all those who thought they were of the few, those who had tasted the sweetness of the Lord and yet turned away, still yet one of the many. It is the everlasting cry of remorse and anguish knowing what had slipped from their grasp as they merrily went throughout life deceiving themselves.

Many or few.

Which are you?