Choose This Day
"Choose This Day"
Life’s all about choices, isn’t it? We make choices every day. We choose what we’re gonna do... what we’re gonna eat... or what we’re gonna say. We choose how we’ll dress... or if we’ll get dressed at all...
I know I’ve told this story before - but it’s a true story... it actually happened. In fact, it happened to me!
Years ago, when I served a church out in the country... I was out visiting one afternoon, when I pulled into the drive of a faithful church member (who at the time was in her mid-70's). She’d never been married... and lived alone... but her car was there, so I naturally, assumed she was home.
Anyway... as I stepped on the porch, I noticed the front door was wide open... but the screen door closed, and hooked... I could see straight into the house.
So I rang the doorbell... and nothing... complete silence.
So I knocked... and again... complete silence.
At that point I was a touch concerned... so I called out the woman’s name... and said, “It’s Jerry, are you home?”
And that’s when I heard her say, “Yes... Jerry... I’m here... I’m in the bathtub!”
She had chosen to take a bath in the middle of the day - with nothing more than the screen door hooked. I don’t recommend doing that... ever.
We choose when, where and how we’ll do pretty much everything in life.
Those of you in the sanctuary today chose to come to church instead of staying home. If you’re participating online... you’ve chosen to watch the service Live on Facebook (so long as the technology - the connection with the internet server works)... but either way, you’ve chosen to be part of our congregation... you’ve chosen to participate in our ministry together.
Choosing is part of being a human. "But what if we refuse to make a choice... what if I choose not to choose?" I’m sure that was the reason why some didn’t vote this past Tuesday. Even with all the hype... and push to vote... millions of registered voters chose not to vote... they chose not to choose.
But that itself is a choice. If you choose, not to choose, you’re actually choosing to go along with the majority.
On the City Council... if you’re present at a business meeting... you have to vote on every issue. Yes, No... or you can abstain or recuse yourself. But if you sit there and refuse to vote, your vote is cast with they majority. That’s the way it works... you have to chose, or the choice is made for you.
Of course, some choices, are more important than others.
I officiated a wedding on Halloween a couple of Saturday’s ago... for Colville and Vivian Harrell’s granddaugher... some of you were there. And one of the most consequential choices in life... hinges on the question: "Do you take this man to be your husband, this woman to be your wife?"
Of course, other choices are not so important. We make dozens (if not hundreds) of choices/decisions every day... most without giving much thought...
Which is all to say... making decisions, either intentional or by default is part of being a human. Making choices is the nature of life.
Joshua said to the children of Israel, “Choose this day whom you will serve.” Seems fairly innocuous, doesn’t it? But maybe it’s more consequential than it sounds...
Choose this day... now... whom you will serve.
How many times have we been asked to do something... or to make a decision... and we respond by saying, “Let me think about it!” - “Let me pray about it...” “Let me ponder the consequences.” I do it all the time.
Seems fair enough.
But the immediacy of God’s calling is echoed throughout scripture, it’s implied.
*Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” You can sense the urgency...
*Psalm 95, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts...”
*In the New Testament, when Jesus called his disciples Simon Peter and Andrew... we’re told they “immediately” - “at once” left their nets (their livelihoods, their obligations, their jobs) to follow him.
Thinking it over wasn’t an option. Joshua said, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve...”
We live in a world of constant distraction. Endless choices. We’ve been so blessed - we’re so fortunate - that all kinds of things vie for our time and attention. Both good things, and not so good things, compete for our time...
Joshua and the Israelites had been blessed, too! God delivered the people from slavery in Egypt... he gifted them with a land abundant provisions, “flowing with milk and honey” - a land for which they did not labor, cities they didn’t build and fruit from groves they did not plant - abundance - everything they needed. Blessings...
And we’re no different.
In light of all the many blessings we’ve received from God... in response to the goodness and grace of our Creator... He calls to us with the very, same, call. “Choose for yourselves, this day, whom you will serve...”
Of course, serving the Lord affects your whole life. It’s affects the way you talk... the way you act... the places you go... the people you associate with... the way you vote... the way you worship... the way you treat others... the way you forgive.
It’s not just a commitment to show up to church once in a while when it’s convenient. It’s a definitive stand... made with authority and purpose.
It means that every day - every action - every moment - is to be lived for the Lord. It’s not always easy. Sometimes it’s a commitment that can be inconvenient or even painful to actually live out.
But when you and I accept the call... when we respond... when we choose to follow God’s Will and Ways... It means that we no longer live for ourselves... we live for God!
I wonder... what our lives would look like, if we - as God’s people - truly followed God? What would my life look like - if I, as a Child of God... honestly, truthfully, definitively lived my life in service to God and God alone? Making his priorities, my priorities... making His will my will... making his heart, my heart?
What would my faith look like? What kind of father and husband and friend and pastor would I be... if I truly “served the Lord” above any other?
I know the call to fully serve the Lord always seems just beyond my grasp. It’s a calling too lofty... to high for me... Joshua even told the Israelites, when they said they would serve God... and throw away their idols... he said, “You’re not able to serve the Lord!”
Again... what would our lives look like, if we truly followed God?
I have no idea... because like Joshua said; I’m not able... I can’t do it alone.
I can only do it... I can only serve God... through the power and presence of Christ... living in me, and through me.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)
Jesus is the only way - you and I - can come into the righteousness of God. And living in Christ - and through Christ - and for Christ... is the only way any of us can truly serve the Lord. Myself included.
Make your definitive statement of intent! Choose for yourself, this day, whom you’ll serve...
And then lean on Christ with all your weight - he will do for you, what you cannot do for yourself.