“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
Too Many Choices
Just before writing this, I was doing what many people all over the country are currently in the process of doing: staring at an empty bracket trying to divine the perfect combination of winners from a 68-team tournament. It’s a task that feels almost impossible (I mean, the four 12 seeds can’t all win, can they?). In fact, the odds are so long that Warren Buffett, just a few years ago, was willing to put up a $1 billion prize for anyone who could perfectly predict that year’s tournament, knowing he would probably never have to pay up.
However, as a basketball fan, every year I somehow choose to ignore the odds and feel like I should be able to get close. As if there’s any amount of knowledge or hours watched of ESPN that would help me to solve the true randomness and, well, “madness” that can come from a tournament with that many choices.
I also find that sometimes I view life through the same lens. We are presented with so many choices everyday that it can become overwhelming. There seems to be a relentlessness to the constant barrage of decisions and answers following those decisions that we must have. I call myself a Christian, so therefore I feel as if I should be able to make exactly the right choice that the Lord would have me make every time a difficult situation presents itself. It’s not inherently a bad thing to strive for perfection, as Jesus was, but this desire can often lead to shame and frustration when we fall short.
What I’ve learned is that while I can always attempt read my Bible more, pray more, or go to church more, I’m still going to make mistakes. I just am. That’s not a defeatist attitude, but one that allows me to always remember I have a Savior who is perfect and loves me despite my mistakes.
In my bracket pool last year, I lost almost every round to my coworkers, and yet I still won the whole pool. How? I correctly picked the champion and that counted for more points than any other decision. In college basketball, that can be a difficult thing to do, but in life our Champion has already been shown to us. He’s an upset pick (I mean, death had to be the Vegas favorite there) but we already know Jesus was victorious.
So while everyone else is picking the favorites, walking through the wide gate that Matthew 7 refers to, our job is to choose the narrow and make the one choice we can’t get wrong — because the answer was handed to us. We need to be able to let go of all the first-round losses, incorrect upset gambles, and final four letdowns, and remember that if we continue to always focus on the Champion, then that prize is greater than any perfect bracket.
– Ryan Akin
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