“When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song,” said the late tenor Luciano Pavarotti who died in 2007.
“He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice. Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers college,” related Pavarotti.
On graduating, I asked my father, ‘Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’
“‘Luciano,’ my father replied, ‘if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.’
“I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera.”
“And now,” advised the world opera singer, “I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book–whatever we choose–we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that’s the key. Choose one chair.”
Our word of the week is “choose.”
In his final days, the great leader of Israel, Joshua, called the nation together with this rousing exhortation: “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.” (Josh 24:15).
Our choice of Masters is huge. Will we follow Jesus? Or will we serve the Devil? Now, most of us do not consciously say, “I choose to serve the Devil.” But we may do so by making some wrong choices.
When we choose the company of evil companions, our morals can become corrupted. The wise man warned, “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Prov 12:26).
When we choose to read salacious literature, watch filthy movies and listen to raunchy music, our minds can become degraded. When we choose to replace Bible reading with recreation and prayer with pleasure our souls can become spiritually malnourished. And whether we realize it or not we end up serving the devil.
Lifestyle is a choice. We choose our morals, ethics, and values. We choose righteousness or unrighteousness. Godliness or ungodliness. Good or evil. Right or wrong. To Christians called out of an evil world of sinful choices, Peter reminded, ” For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do — living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry” (1 Pet. 4:3).
Seemingly smaller choices that may not corrupt us can limit our ability to effectively serve the Lord. Charging a few dollars here and there on our Visa card can soon add up and then we become a slave to debt. Because of some poor choices each day, a few years later our opportunities to do more and have more are compromised.
God has given you and I this day. It can be used for His glory, or to our shame. It can be filled with goodness, or wasted with wickedness. Its hours can be invested in deeds that will produce divine dividends, or they can be squandered, leaving us spiritually bankrupt. It can be a day that will leave good memories, or end in bitter regrets.
The choices young people make in their dating relationships can impact their future lives for good or bad. It is important to make wise choices—choices that are in keeping with God’s standard for us.
We can’t undue our choices. We can only make new ones. Let’s resolve to make decisions that will glorify God and ensure for us good health, happiness on earth, and an eternal hope.
The words of Eleanor Roosevelt ring true: “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”
Psychologist and author, Dr. J. Martin Kohe, did not overstate the case when he wrote, “The greatest power a person possesses is his power to choose.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman