This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to Starved Rock State Park. It was one of those occasions I wished that I had researched the area a little better. I kept hearing rave reviews about how gorgeous the canyons were at the park. I wanted to not only take a few worms swimming, but I wanted to be able to hike around the trails and really enjoy the great outdoors. However, upon my arrival I learned that during the weekends it is rather swamped. In fact, it was so busy that the wouldn’t permit people to go beyond the 1st entrance into the park (at least not with a car). I was shocked to see thousands upon thousands of people ascending upon the park Saturday morning. It wasn’t long and our little fishing spot was getting crowded. By the time my eldest hooked her first fish we had people all around us. After she hooked her first fish people took over our fishing hole. At that time I thought it was best to perhaps hit some of the trails. What we learned was the trails were so packed that you couldn’t actually enjoy them. With 6 children in tow I would have spent more time trying not to be separated from them than I would have enjoying the beautiful scenery. So, we packed up and headed home. To be honest it was one of the worst trips to a state park I have experienced. My father had an opportunity to speak to a ranger that said that during the weekends the people from Chicago come down in droves. He explained that we really should have come earlier in the week if we wanted to enjoy all that the State Park had to offer.
As I drove the rest of the way home I got to thinking about the Robert E. Frost poem, “The Road Not Taken.” I have to admit, when I read that poem I think about how I have stood at many crossroads in my life. I think about how I could go the direction of the masses and how I am usually disappointed. Just like I was this past weekend. I would have much rather hit the Buffalo Rock State Park, which was just a few miles from Starved Rock. It was completely empty. (Or at least it looked that way as we drove by).
In religion Jesus taught the same principle. “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 (Matt. 7:13-14).” This is not to say that the having masses is a genuine sign that you are straying from God’s path, but if the masses are coming in droves maybe we ought to make certain that it is God that they are coming to. Not entertainment. No Free Groceries. Not a nice meal. But genuine, holy, worship of our God.