The park across the street from our neighborhood is getting a makeover. A new entrance, an expanded playground, and bigger sidewalks comprise much of the work in process. My favorite renovation thus far is the path. I walk the same pathway every day, both in the morning and in the evening, Not only does Joy (our 11 year old GSP) enjoy this necessary outdoor exercise but this walking routine also allows Gary and I, and sometimes Sophie, margin for prayer and to share about our days.
Until now the sidewalk width through the park has been only three feet. Walking side by side with a dog proves challenging. Recently, Sophie exclaimed, “Stop walking me into the grass.” :–) The path feels narrow, even skinny, and with more than one person walking simultaneously, we tend to bump each other off the concrete walkway and into the grass.
So, the first change to the park involved widening the path. The construction workers expanded a portion of the sidewalk to the width of five feet. This provides more room so that walking alongside each other is possible and more enjoyable. The path is now broad; it has been enlarged.
David proclaimed in Psalm 18:36 that God provided “a broad path for his feet so [his] ankles did not give way.” David declared God’s goodness, thanking Him for the bigger path. God broadened David’s path so his journey experienced support.
David’s use of “broad” in this Psalm is different from Jesus’ use of “wide” in Matthew 7:13. David referred to this enlarged space as a gift from God, not a distraction away from God as Jesus pointed out in His sermon. The broad path seems to connect with the Christian life. Sophie “falling” off the path and the times I too have been bumped from the sidewalk came to mind. I wondered how the spacious path offered support to David in the Psalms and the ways a broadened path today offers support for our spiritual journey.
God intends the spiritual journey to occur in community. We need other people and other people need us. Through these relationships we learn more of who God is and who He invites us to be. Because of the wider sidewalk, Gary, Sophie, and I now walk side by side, supporting each other through life. We journey together. The broad path provides space for us to stroll in tandem. Our shared community is stronger during the walk because we accompany one another shoulder to shoulder.
Have you noticed the ways God has enlarged the path before you, offering support and drawing you closer to Himself? In what ways do your interactions with other people spur your spiritual growth?
Think about your daily path.
Are you walking the broad path with others? Is there room for others to join you? Who could you invite to accompany you in the spiritual journey? Seek out companions.
Interestingly, the park renovations across the street do not include broadening all of the sidewalks throughout the open space. A section of the path remains narrow.
What is provocative, is the reality that both broad and narrow pathways stimulate our growth with Jesus Christ. The narrow pathway reminds me of walking with Jesus side by side, communing with Him. There truly isn’t room for anyone else. As we submit to Jesus, we realize that He saves, sustains, and steers the path before us. Time on the narrow path with Jesus is imperative to our spiritual growth.
In what ways do you ensure you walk the narrow path with Jesus as your companion? Perhaps intentionally incorporate silence, meditating on Scripture, worship, and daily reflection into your spiritual practices.
We need both broad and narrow paths in our lives. The narrow path reminds us to keep in step with Jesus, moving through life with Him by our side. On this skinny way we listen, receive and follow God through the movement of the Holy Spirit. The broad path, on the other hand, prompts connection with others; offering support and strength through community. Journeying with Jesus and others transpires upon both the broad and narrow path.
Take note of the path upon which you walk.
Savor the narrow sidewalks in life, embracing space to commune directly with Jesus through life-giving rhythms. Delight in the broad pathways, welcoming spiritual community through accountability and encouragement in the daily journey of life.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
2 Samuel 22:37
You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community. San Francisco, CA. 2009.
James Bryan Smith. The Good and Beautiful Community: Following the Spirit, Extending Grace, Demonstrating Love. Downers Grove, IL. 2010.
Puddles for Prayer: Thank you for praying for upcoming travel and speaking engagements.
June 12-25 – Manila, Philippines
Traveling with Gary and speaking to various groups and organizations on Soul Care for Boards, Ministry Staff and Senior Leaders.