“I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.”
The story is told in Saskatchewan of a young man who joined many others in going way up north to work in the oil fields, the uranium mines and the forests. They only worked in the winter because the ground was not solid enough to work when it thawed out. It was hard, boring, and rough. Free time was really the devil’s time. When the young man came home in the spring he was in church with his parents. After the service, the pastor asked, “How was it, being a Christian, among all those rough, tough guys up there?” The young man replied, “Oh, they never knew I was a Christian.”
Apparently, he blended in very well by engaging in behavior that was just like everyone else’s. What he said or how he acted didn’t stand out. He had chosen to go with the flow. I’d love to know how his pastor responded to the young man’s answer!
Life choices. It seems appropriate, in this time of graduations so recently celebrated in June, to be reminded that each of us is constantly faced with choices as to how we will live. The choices for our high school and college graduates center on employment, further education, or military service. Those are big choices that will influence many other things. But each of us, whether new grads or those whose formal education ended a long time ago, are continually faced with a variety of life choices. So how do we make our decisions? In Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 we are given a very good suggestion. Pray first.
In the Acts text, Jesus’ followers are gathered to choose an apostle to replace Judas from two candidates. The process they use is to first pray for God’s guidance. They incorporate prayer into their decision making. The disciples trust that God knows their situation, that God wants the best possible outcome, and that God will help them. PRAY FIRST is a good rule of thumb for all situations in which you need to make choices.
We modern-day Christians are to live for Christ in a difficult world. We have the Holy Spirit to help and guide us, and we need that help because it is much easier to just go along with the messages of a world that are often the opposite of Christ’s teaching and example. Kermit the Frog said, “It’s not easy being green.” It is even harder to live as a faithful follower of Christ Jesus. It involves making good choices. Pray that you will make the choices that make visible to the world that you are a Christian.
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Candy Thomas
Christ Congregational United Church of Christ