One of the things that frustrates me about grocery shopping is the matter of choices. How do I decide what to buy when there are so many choices staring at you? My wife is much better than me at this. I get annoyed.
But this is the word we live in. We’ve come a long way from the time that Henry Ford said that people could buy any colour car they wanted as long as it was black! We have too many choices and seriously, some people don t know what to do. Some are paralysed with fear and frozen in time and space by all the choices and all the possibilities of making a bad decision!
I heard of Russians visiting the US after the disintegration of the Soviet Union being absolutely unable to shop in a modern supermarket—stunned and unable to make a decision because of all the choices. I know of missionaries who return home from a poor country, faced with complex choices they haven’t had to make.
I think there is great anxiety about making the right choice and fear of regret for making the wrong decision. Do all these options make life better for us? Is it easier now than it was when there weren’t all of these choices?
We don’t need more stuff—we need hope! We need joy, peace, love and acceptance. It all comes from God. And this is what the Christian faith teaches. Nowhere else and nothing else will give you the joy and hope you hunger for, because it comes only from God.
The Boy who Made the Right Choice
I love this story of a 16-year-old boy named William. He left home to make his fortune. Everything he owned was in a backpack when he headed toward a riverboat. William’s story was simple: His father was too poor to care for him and the only trade he knew was soap-and-candle making.
The captain of the boat was a Christian and when he heard William’s story he offered some advice: “Someone will soon be the leading soap maker in New York. It can be you as well as anyone else. Be a good man, give your heart to Jesus Christ, pay the Lord all that belongs to him, make an honest soap—and I’m sure you’ll be a prosperous and rich man.”
William heeded the advice and when he arrived in New York he joined a church and started working for a soap manufacturer. In a short time he was part owner of that soap company and later the sole proprietor. He paid his tithes from the beginning and his enterprise prospered so that he dedicated 20% to Christ.
His prosperity continued so he gave half his income to God. After becoming wealthy he surrendered his entire salary to the Lord. That’s the story of William Colgate, the soap and toothpaste manufacturer that was first to put toothpaste in a tube. William made the right choice by accepting the captain’s advice.
You may have heard the little saying:
There is a choice you have to make,
In everything you do.
And you must always keep in mind,
The choice you make makes you.
That’s true, isn’t it? Life is about choices—choices we make, choices others make. And I might add, the choices others make oftentimes affect us. However, we need to remember that God only holds us accountable for our own choices.
Yes, we may sometimes be affected by the choice of another. We may bare a burden because someone else has made a wrong decision; but when it comes down to it, our first concern is the choices we make in life: The choice you make makes you.
When Confronted with a Choice, how do we Decide?
Can I ask you a question this morning: When you are confronted with a choice, how do you decide? What kind of guiding principles do you use in order to come to a decision? You may today be confronted with a decision, and the decision you make may have far-reaching consequences. Very simply put, you want to know what to do.
It might sound simple, but God has an answer. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just peek into the mind of God for a few moments, just to see what he’s thinking about us? Truthfully, thinking implies that God has a thought process, but he doesn’t. God doesn’t think about anything; he knows everything.
Someone once said, “Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God?” He knows everything about you and every detail of your life. Even the smallest detail, even to the numbers of hair on your head. The Bible says so.
David prayed this in Psalm 143:8 “Each morning let me learn more about your love because I trust you. I come to you in prayer, asking for your guidance”. Then in verse 10 he says, “You are my God. Show me what you want me to do, and let your gentle Spirit lead me in the right path”.
And then in Psalm 25:4-5 David again writes, “Show me your paths and teach me to follow; guide me by your truth and instruct me. You keep me safe, and I always trust you”.