Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few (Matthew 7:13-14, ESV).
Today, January 30, is my birthday.
I am 70 years old today. Let me say that again, “I am 70 today.” It doesn’t feel better whether I write “seventy” or “70.” I am now 60 + 10.
Since I turn 70 today, it is more important for me to “stay in my lane.” When I was 30, 40, 50, and even 60 years old, I could wander a bit and explore less meaningful pursuits because, if needed, I still had years to correct my course.
But since I turn 70 today, I realize that I don’t have decades left. More than ever, I want to effectively contribute to God’s Kingdom, and my “time left” constraints force me to focus on a narrow path.
How do I know that I’m staying in my lane? How do you know if you are staying in your lane? I could give a list of five things to be done, but instead, I will tell you a cycling story.
I don’t often ride with other cyclists. I call myself a “serial soloist” as I value being alone on my bike.
One time when I did ride with another cyclist, it quickly became apparent that he was about two miles per hour faster than I was. That might not seem like much, but on a two-hour bike ride, he would finish four miles ahead of me.
Either I would have to speed up beyond my conditioning and eventually “bonk” – the cycling term for falling over in the grass while gasping for air and water – or the other cyclist could slow down.
Neither option would give us a great bike ride. But there was another way. I could draft behind the faster cyclist. Which meant that I would ride behind my friend with my front tire about three to five inches behind his rear tire.
It’s tricky to do this and scary for those who haven’t done it before.
But drafting creates an aerodynamic effect that allows the cyclist in the rear to ride about two to three miles per hour faster without increased effort. By drafting, I could ride outside my comfort zone, increase my speed, keep up with my friend, and have a great ride.
There was only one thing necessary for the drafting to work – I had to stay in my lane.
Once, in the middle of our 40-mile bike ride, I felt strong. I thought, “I can do this.” Passing my friend, I went to the front with him behind. I was now riding two to three miles outside my ability.
It didn’t last long. I learned my lesson and pulled back into his draft.
I’m seventy or 70, but if I stay on the narrow path behind Jesus, I will accomplish things beyond my ability – till I meet Him face to face.
I wish that I had learned drafting behind my friend Jesus when I was 20, 30, 40, 50, or 60.
Whatever our age, let’s stay in our lane.
Did I mention that I turn 70 today? 30 + 40!