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The Narrow Door
Episode 9621st February 2024 • Grace for All • Jim Stovall, Greta Smith, First United Methodist Church, Maryville, TN
00:00:00 00:03:43

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“Keep on striving to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will seek to enter in and will not be able to.” (Luke 13:24)


Years ago I had a summer internship  in Jackson, Wyoming. I loved being outdoors and the opportunities there to explore were endless. One day some co-workers asked if I wanted to climb The Middle Teton. Not having ever hiked above 10,000 feet, I was a little intimidated by the idea of scaling this 12,806 foot peak. Doing so would require a 13-mile roundtrip with about 6,000 feet of elevation gain (the vertical equivalent of going from the beach to Clingman’s Dome). The route included crossing a snowfield (even in July) and would end in a 1,200 foot scramble up a rock face.

“Oh yeah,” my coworker added, “We’ll have to summit by noon, or the risk of getting caught in an afternoon thunderstorm is too great.” It is hard to hide from lightning on the top of an exposed rock at twelve thousand feet. The trip was an excruciatingly hard hike and climb, but the views and the experience were amazing.


When I read Jesus’s words about striving to enter the narrow door, I am reminded that seldom do we gain remarkable things without difficulty and sacrifice. Our human nature is to look for the simplest path, but here Jesus implores us to strive for something greater. I am reminded that my walk in faith will require great effort to cross the many valleys and mountains, but experiencing the true Kingdom will be an event that compares with nothing.  

Let us pray

God of all, you hold back nothing for the sake of your children. May we, too, be willing to strive and to sacrifice, holding back nothing in our pursuit of You.  In Christ’s name we pray, amen.

Today’s devotional was written and read by Justin Hall.

Grace for All is a daily devotional podcast produced by the members of the congregation of First United Methodist Church in Maryville, Tennessee. With these devotionals, we want to remind listeners on a daily basis of the love and grace that God extends to all human beings, no matter their location, status, or condition in life.

If you would like to respond to these devotionals in any way, we would enjoy hearing from you. Our email address is:

First United Methodist Church is a lively, spirit-filled congregation whose goal is to spread the message of love and grace into our community and throughout the world. We are located on the web at