Summary: We are the Burger King generation. We are used to being told to "have it your way." But if we are going to be saved or helped by the Lord, it will be in his way.
Day after day we are confronted with a vast array of options. So many options that it will make your head spin. A question as simple as, “How do you want your hamburger?” can be quite a challenge. According to Burger King, the home of the Whopper, there 1024 different ways for a customer to order that iconic burger. Imagine the numbers for a place like Subway! It would take Jared the rest of his life to eat all the combinations.
Man, do we have options! We have options in what we eat; in what we wear; in what we listen to; in what we watch; in what we drive, in what we do and what we think. It would be interesting if some statistician could figure out how many options the average American is presented with on a daily basis. The number would, no doubt, be mind-boggling.
It wasn’t always like this. When Henry Ford began selling the Model T, He was known to have said, “You can have any color you want as long as it’s black”. And when you look at old grainy photographs of that earlier time, you’ll see crowds of men standing there in the same bowler hats and the same dark, Charlie Chaplin style suits. There weren’t always so many options in life. Industrialization has has opened up a world of options for all of us.
This has been great blessing, of course. As individuals, we can do things that former generations could not even dream of. We are wealthy in comparison to them.
Obviously, we have grown accustomed to our options. We are used to thinking in an optional way. So whenever our options become limited by some force or some voice outside of ourselves, we have a tendency to become dismayed, annoyed, and even angry. We like our options, thank you very much! Don’t mess with our options!
It is therefore not surprising, since we have grown so accustomed to such an optional way of thinking , that the words of Jesus would be called into question by some. For as he speaks about what he came to do, he gives absolutely no options. He says quite clearly “I am the way, the truth and the Life, no one comes to the father except by me.” (John 14:6) And through Peter the Apostle he says: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). There is only one God; one Lord; and one way to reach eternity.
I’m sure that most of us believe this. But still, as we view it from the context of our optional lives, it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it. For not only do we like our options, but we like to think that our neighbors have their options too. In America everybody gets to vote; everybody gets to live his life as he chooses; everybody gets to do his own thing. And as Americans who are accustomed to so many options we are almost offended when someone dares to insist that there is only one way as Jesus does. I mean in the current environment, its just not cool to even think this way. It’s not inclusive. It’s not worldly. It’s not open-minded. It’s not optional. “So how can it be right?” We might wonder.
Would you be surprised if I told you that this reaction to our very specific Lord is by no means unique to our time? There was a man in old Testament times, mind you, who lived and thought in the same optional way that we in the modern times think. He was exceedingly powerful, rich, famous, and popular. If you had all that going for you, no matter what era you lived in, a world of options would be open to you and you would find it quite easy to “have it your way.” He may not have had all the fancy gadgets that we have, but he had servants to carry out his every wish. His name was Naaman. He was a general and commander of the army of a kingdom known as Aram which was to the north of Israel And as a commander , Naaman served with distinction: praised by his people and lauded by his king.
From a worldly point view, General Naaman had everything. Everything except good health, that is. It would seem that man can have everything he’s ever wanted; he can have a life overflowing with options, but all of those options can be taken away from him by just one thing: his own mortality. The prospects of a terminal illness and the death that inevitably follows have a way of limiting ones options down to nothing. There will always come that point in everyone’s life when nothing more can be done.