But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:14
In the timeless 1940s classic, the Wizard of Oz, a then sixteen year old Judy Garland plays Dorothy–an innocent bright eyed girl who finds herself transported from one world to another. Reborn, if you like, into a colourful utopian metaphor- resplendent in moral parables. An expedition commences in the pursuit of wisdom, compassion, courage and ultimately love.
Dorothy is advised to follow the yellow brick road. In keeping to this narrow path, she is assured she will reach her destination. Along the way, temptations compete for her attention, veering off the road she ends up in trouble. The paradox of the movie, however, is no more surreal than in Judy Garland’s own personal life.
By 47, the darling of Hollywood, would be dead. Succumbing to drugs and alcohol, she wandered far from the ‘yellow brick road’. Sadly, this talented woman found herself on a road that led to destruction.
When Christ proclaims ‘few find the narrow path that leads to life, for many are on the broad road that leads to destruction’, he points to Himself as the road: the way, the truth and the life. A narrow path that resists the temptations of this world – fame, fortune, fleeting pleasures. To Christ such worldly things are meaningless. Christ’s way is indeed a path that requires self control, Holiness and Godly commitment. A sacrificial commitment that denies one’s self.
Trying to navigate this road alone is impossible. What seems a narrow path becomes a myriad of crossroads. Alternate beliefs, sinful exploits, legalistic religion or nominal faith. Without a compass, we quickly become lost.
Only Christ’s Spirit within us can navigate this life. Like sheep, we all wander away, make the wrong choices, and so often find that the grass is not greener on the other side. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy does find the way. Her journey teaches her that wisdom, compassion, courage and love are of far greater value than anything the world offers. One way leading to eternal life, the other to destruction.
Which road will you choose?