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On the Journey...
Monthly Insight From Pastor Phil Yoder
March 24, 2020
Choices, Choices, Choices
God has endowed us with the ability and with the responsibility to make choices. We all make choices, and we make them constantly, even without thinking about them. We make big choices, like who we marry, our occupation, where we live, will I go to college, will I seek and obey God, will faith be an important part of my life. And our lives are shaped by those choices we make. Certainly not every decision we make is a life or death decision. We make small choices; will I put ketchup on my fries? Well, for some of us, that is a reflex, and is no longer much of a choice. We choose what color to wear today, should I wear a sweater or take a jacket, should I be a blonde or a brunette next month, do I put sugar in my coffee, white bread or wheat, scrambled or over easy, bacon or sausage, and on and on all day long. We make choices that in the long run really don’t matter much, they just reflect our preferences. Will we buy a blue or grey car, Shell or Marathon, Coke or Pepsi, vanilla or chocolate, Crest or Colgate, cheer for the Bears or the Colts. We make so many choices every day, and much of the time we don’t even think about it that we are even making them.
Sometimes, people don’t want to take responsibility for choices they have made because they didn’t turn out so good, so they blame others for their poor choices that have ended with bad consequences. “But it’s not my fault” is a phrase all too commonly heard from someone who has made a bad choice and ends up regretting it.
To have the ability to make choices is a very great power, and it is carries with it great responsibility. Our choices are crucial, and they have consequences, good or bad. They determine not only our course in life, and at least some of what we experience in life, but ultimately, choices we make determine our eternal destiny.
We don’t really have a choice; we have to make choices. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had to make a choice whether to obey God or to disobey. And everybody since them has had to make that same choice. Adam and Eve chose to disobey and then blame someone else for their decision. That pattern has been common ever since, but it did not excuse them, nor will it excuse anyone else from the decisions they have made nor from the consequences that follow.
As we are enter into the season of Lent, our worship themes will focus on the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. The narrative is not just about the choices Jesus made and what happened to him as a result of his choices, the narrative itself confronts us with choices, very important choices that we too need to make. Woven into the narrative of Holy Week are a series of choices that people surrounding Jesus made, and they represent choices that every human being must also make. Ignoring those important decisions doesn’t make them go away. And failing to actively make a choice always defaults to a choice, and sometimes one that brings deep regrets. We cannot escape our responsibility to choose by ignoring it.
This year during Lent, we will carefully explore the narrative of Jesus’ last week to discover from that narrative some big choices, life-altering choices, that still confront us today.