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Wednesday-Time to Choose

 

If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!

 

Philippians 1:22

 

Did you know that the Declaration of Independence says that we have the right to choose? It does. Part of the Found Father’s declaration and promise was that you and I were going to be free to make choices. Just look at what it says.

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness[1].

 

When we’re equal and have rights, that gives us the right to have choices. We get to make decisions, choose, and then act. Our ability to choose is to help us with our life, our liberty, and our pursuit of happiness. When you add all that up, it sure sounds like we’ve got a lot of freedom and choices to make.

 

Choices are all around us. We can’t live without making choices. If you wake up to an alarm clock or an app on your phone, you choose when to wake up. Even if you just wake up by yourself, you choose when and how to get out of bed.

 

I normally wake up before Mary Ann, so my choices all revolve around not disturbing her. I gently and quietly move the covers to one side while I slide my legs over the edge of the bed. Raising my body up, I slowly slip on some shoes and stand. Walking around the bed, I leave the bedroom and quietly close the door behind me.

 

Most of our choices are not all that important. What to wear. What to eat. But Paul’s choice is much more significant. It’s a life-or-death decision. It’s about as serious as it gets.

 

Have you ever had to make a life-or-death decision? What started as intense pain between my shoulder blades spread to being paralyzed from the neck down. They had just injected some radioactive dye into my spine and then stood me on my head while they took x-rays. This was no slipped disk, there was a blockage in my spine.

 

It was 10 PM on a Sunday night and the surgeon said that they had no idea what it was. But the only thing they knew for certain was that it had to operate. They had to open me up right now. And once they got in there, no one could predict what they’d find. Was it a tumor? Was there some kind of infection?

 

We couldn’t wait. There was no time for a second opinion. Every second that went by, I was getting worse and worse. The paralysis had taken away the feeling on my skin and was now stopping my ability to move my arms and legs. There was no waiting till Monday either. It had to be now. Doing nothing wasn’t really an option.

 

This is where Paul finds himself. If he stays here in this life, there’s lots to do. He’s not interested in just hanging out. He’s not one of these chilled-out Christians that wants to sit back and relax. Not on your life.

 

He’s personally experienced Jesus. He’s seen the physically resurrected Son of God. The Savior of the world. Without a shadow of a doubt, Paul knows that all his sins have been forgiven. Once-and-for-all, his past-present-and-future sins are totally forgiven. And now that Paul’s an Apostle, he’s not going to let anything stand in his way. No grass is going to grow under his feet.

 

Like a farmer, he’s interested in one thing. Only one thing. And that’s being fruitful. Period. You can take all that other stuff and push it aside. Throw it all away. It’s all about doing anything and everything just to be fruitful.

 

Paul’s like a big game hunter, stalking after that one great big trophy. He knows that he’s only going to get one opportunity to shoot once. Paul’s living like he’s only got one shot in this life. And he’s going to do whatever it takes to make the most with it.

 

But it’s not that simple. You see, the other option is to die and be with Jesus. Yes, there’s lots of things he can do right here on Earth. And that sounds really good. But if the other option is to die, that changes things. You see, to be dead and out from this body means to be immediately put into the personal presence of the Lord[2].

 

Yes, life is really all about our choices. Someone once said that our choices are like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs behind. We can look back at where we’ve come from through our choices. Our past choices tell everyone what we thought was important. Today’s choices clearly mark what we think is important right now.

 

One of the things that makes me really like Paul is his honesty. When he puts the two choices side-by-side, he really doesn’t know which to choose. It’s a toss-up. He really wants to help the Philippians, but he also really wants to be with Jesus. Tough choice.

 

For most of us, I think that the honest answer is that we’d quickly choose to hang out here for a while longer. Not because we want to work hard for more fruit to grow, but because this is all we know. Friends, it’s time to choose

 

Noodling Questions

 

  • What choices are hard to make? Which ones are easy?

  • In the past, what has God called you to do? With what results?

  • Where is God guiding you to serve in the near future?


[1] In Congress, July 4, 1776

[2] 2 Corinthians 5:8

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