Choice decides destiny. What you and I choose to do or choose not to do decides our life’s path. Regardless of illnesses, finances, or circumstances, what we choose decides how we live and who we decide to be.
For example, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters (Genesis, Chapter 1); and, at that very same moment (whenever “that very same moment” occurred), God not only chose to create the heavens and earth, but also, God chose to create a series of circumstances and series of events, putting you and me where we are today.
Each and every choice anyone makes decides not only our destiny, but also, it decides the destiny of many, many beings. In light of this power that you and I possess, let me ask you, “What was the one, single-most important and powerful decision that you made in your life that was so influential that it affected decades of your life and decades of the lives of others?”
The single-most important and powerful decision I ever made was not to bring children into this world until I was closer to 30 — an age when I believed that I no longer lived as a child myself. Our youngest son had his 24th birthday last Thursday. Our middle child will celebrate his 32nd birthday this December. My 61st birthday is this winter. They are young, and I am old; however, I know how to help them better today than if I brought them into this world as a younger man. Although I play catch and baseball worse these days than I once played, I have better abilities to help them know how to decide their paths. And at this point in my life, our middle son will call me, saying, “Hey old man, ... how are you, and I need some advice.” And while I find being called “old man” less than pleasant (even though “old man” truly applies to me), I like that he calls me and his stepmother for advice.
Waiting to have children for me until I grew older (although maybe not for everyone else) decidedly helped me and them.
So, what was the most important and powerful decision you made in your life that carried you through today and possibly carried you through into the future?
Jesus tells us a story about how our decisions affect today, tomorrow and the future. It’s a story he taught that haunts me still today, because he taught about the power of making decisions that may not be amendable.
Here’s the story Jesus taught, and I would love your input and comments:
16:19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.
16:20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
16:21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores.
16:22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried.
16:23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.
16:24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’
16:25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.
16:26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’
16:27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house —
16:28 for I have five brothers — that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’
16:29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’
16:30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
16:31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” (New Revised Standard Version)
What we decide to do and what we decide not to do decides not only our destiny, but also decides the destiny of others. What decisions do you plan to made today?
Tom Towns is pastor of First United Methodist Church in Cortez.