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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN




Where Will You Be When You Get Where You Are Going?

Wendy DeWar Hughes related the following (Reader's Digest, 10/2002, p 121) — "Once, after a long, hard week, I leaned my head on my husband's shoulder and sighed, 'Let's run away together.' He replied, 'We did, and this is where we ended up." Where will you end up? That depends, doesn't it, on the decisions and choices we make today. Choices are important — every road we choose to travel leads somewhere. The famous opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti once told that when he was a boy, his father urged him to develop his voice. Arrigo Palo, a professional tenor in Luciano's hometown of Modena, Italy, took the young Pavarotti as a pupil, but while he studied voice Luciano also enrolled in a teacher's school. Upon graduating, he asked his father, "Shall I be a teacher or a singer?" his father replied, "Luciano, if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair."

Choices matter when we are choosing a career, and choices matter when it comes to developing character. Where we are tomorrow is determined by choices we make today. Doug Parsons once noted in a church bulletin article that the future is rooted in the present, and the present is rooted in the past. Years ago I heard a story about an older gospel preacher who was preaching a gospel meeting. He quoted many passages from the Bible and throughout the week masterfully preached the gospel. The last night of the meeting a middle-aged sister complimented him at the back door and gushed, "I'd give half my life to know the Bible as well as you do." Without hesitation the veteran preacher told her, "That's exactly what it will cost you, sister." His point was clear. You don't learn or become or achieve anything of any significance in life, including the development of spiritual character, without making the choices that lead there.

Choices really do 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 be sexually immoral which often leads to painful emotional and physical consequences, and always to bad spiritual consequences (see Hebrews 13:4). 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 a choice, and it is always a bad one (Romans 6:23a; James 1:15). Regarding where we will be for eternity, we actually have but one choice — heaven or hell. Jesus lays it out in Matthew 7:13-14 with words that stagger us if and when they ever really sink 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 but the one Jesus describes matters more than any choice we ever make. We won't just accidentally wake up someday in either heaven or hell. In eternity, where we will be when we get where we are going depends upon the road we choose to travel. How about it — are you trveling the narrow way to life, or the broad way to destruction?

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ