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Choice Matters

We live in the day of multiple choice. Whether buying a car, cookies, crackers or clothing, Americans daily experience a long menu of choices. Forty years ago I began to notice preachers telling people to go to the "church of your choice," and now choices seem endless in religious and even moral lifestyles. Millions are absolutely sure nobody can be absolutely sure about anything, and they are absolutely sure about that! The result is a radical pluralism that says all choices in religious belief and moral behavior are equally valid, and all roads somehow in the end take us to God no matter how different they are. But it won't wash! As somebody said, it is true that there are two sides to every question, but it is also true there are two sides to a sheet of flypaper, and it makes a big difference to the fly which side he chooses!

Choices matter. Sometimes they matter more than others, but they often result in very significant consequences. According to a Reader's Digest article (7/85, p 173) in 1920 the management of the Boston Red Sox made the bad choice to sell a player named Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. After joining the Yankees, in 10 out of the next 12 seasons the Babe hit more home runs than the entire Red Sox team! Boston did not win a World Series between 1918, when Ruth was on the team, until October, 2004! In 1938 Joe Schuster and Jerry Siegel sold all their rights for a comic book character that they had invented for $130. The character's name? Superman. In 1955, Sam Phillips sold to RCA Victor Records his exclusive contract with a young singer named Elvis Presley, arid thus missed
out on royalties from sales of more than a billion records! Choices make a difference. Ask Adam and Eve who, with the juice of forbidden fruit still dripping from their lips, find themselves outside the Garden of Eden and away from fellowship with God. Ask King David after his secret, one night fling with another man's wife turned into a tortured conscience and a lifetime of family strife, dysfunction and grief. Ask the prodigal son who spurned the teaching and guidance of his father and through a series of bad choices ended up living a pigpen existence. Choices really matter. A single choice to drink or smoke or use other kinds of drugs often begins a downward spiral that ends in addiction and loss that is immeasurable. Marriages and homes and hearts are broken because men and women make bad choices. Young people choose to quit high school and literally pay a price, often for the rest of their lives. People choose to spend money they don't have and use a plastic card to dig a financial hole that burdens their family and proves hard to climb out of. Sin is always a bad choice (Romans 6:23a; James 1:15). As it regards where we will spend eternity, we actually have but one choice — heaven or hell. Jesus spells it out in Matthew 7:13-14 with words that stagger us if and when they ever really soak into our souls — "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find if." Many choices  matter, matter, but the choice Jesus describes matters more than any choice we ever make. What God will choose to do with us in eternity depends directly upon what we choose to do with Him in time. Think about it.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ