Those who live most of their lives in the fellowship of the Lord’s church are blessed with a plethora of sweet memories associated with the worship of our Father in heaven. Certain songs may remind them of when they were immersed into Christ. Others may remind them of family members now passed. Others still remind them of what the Christian life is all about. One such song is Lead Me Gently Home, Father, which captures the earnest desire of godly people to reach the heavenly goal.
One of the most basic teachings of the Lord is that being His disciple is a journey. In Mt. 7:13-14 the Lord said, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” The implications of this statement are clear and easy to understand. We all enter one of the two gates as we go through life. Each gate leads to a certain destination. As we live our lives we are making progress to one or the other of those destinations. One destination is destruction, which is a term used here to describe eternal condemnation. The other destination is life, which is used here to describe entrance into the heavenly abode.
It is up to each of us to choose the path his life will follow. We are called by the gospel (2 Th. 2:14) to choose the path that leads to life. We are called by the world to follow the crowd that is rushing, headlong, toward the abyss of hell. We are free to choose either course, but the wise person will choose the path that leads to life.
Just making the choice to enter through the gate that opens onto the way that leads to life is not enough, however. We do not secure eternal life by entering the small gate and then sitting down by the side of the road. Once one becomes a Christian, he must continue down the path toward his heavenly reward until he reaches it. There is much in the New Testament to indicate that this is the case, but Paul the apostle demonstrated it for us in his own life. Near the end of his life he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8). Paul was confident of receiving his reward because he had faithfully walked the path that leads to life.
We enter through the small gate that opens onto the narrow way for one purpose only. That purpose is to make the journey, step by step, until we reach the final goal. We do not have to travel as quickly as others, but we do have to move down the path. There is no reward for sitting on the sidelines. This is where the words of this beautiful song teach and admonish us.
As we sing this song we are asking the Father to lead us home. The most important aspect of this sentiment is that it is the Father who does the leading. He does so by means of His inspired word, which our Lord said is truth (Jn. 17:17). Our Lord Jesus said that He spoke only what the Father commanded Him to speak (Jn. 12:49-50). He, in turn, gave this word to His apostles, and to the inspired writers of the New Testament, through the power of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:13; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). Therefore, when we follow the New Testament, the Father is leading us.
Secondly, in order for the Father to lead us home, we must be willing to follow Him. This means that we must place our will under the control of His will. It means that we must be ready to do everything that the Word of God requires of us in order to be obedient to our Father in heaven. In Mt. 7:21-23 Jesus said that only those who do the will of the Father in heaven will enter there. Therefore, let us resolve that we will let the Father lead us gently home by believing and obeying His inspired word. If we do this, He will indeed lead us home.