During World War II, Winston Churchill was forced to make a painful choice. The British secret service had broken the Nazi code and informed Churchill that the Germans were going to bomb Coventry.
He had two alternatives: (1) evacuate the citizens and save hundreds of lives at the expense of indicating to the Germans that the code was broken; or (2) take no action, which would kill hundreds but keep the information flowing and possibly save many more lives.
Churchill had to choose. He followed the second course.
Our word of the week is choice.
God made humankind creatures of choice. From the garden to Eden to the garden of Gethsemane we see choices made throughout the Bible. Some people made good choices. Others made bad choices.
Before Israel entered the promised land, Moses challenged them with these words: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now CHOOSE life, so that you and your children may live.” (Deut. 30:19)
When the prophet Elijah confronted his people concerning their idol worship, he presented to them two choices: “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” (I Kings 18:21)
In His Mountain message Jesus spoke of two basic choices in life. Either God or Mammon. You can’t serve both. You must make a choice. (Matt 6:24).
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.
H. E. Fosdick was right when he wrote, “He who chooses the beginning of a road chooses the place it leads to. It is the means that determine the end.” Or as Richard Bach put it, “ You choose, you live with the consequences.
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.
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 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.”
We can’t undue our choices. We can only make new ones. Let’s resolve to make decisions that will glorify God, ensure good health, produce happiness on earth, and give us an eternal hope.
The poet Robert Frost reminds us of the impact of our choices in life with these classic words.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman