Summary: This message is the first of this series I've titled "Choices". It focus on the choices that we will make in 2016 and how those choices should be made. This message introduces 1 Corinthian 9:24-27 as the foundation Scripture for the series.
Choices – 1st Sunday 2016
The title of my message this morning is “Choices.” On Monday of this past week I mailed to each of you (kids included) a personal letter. The letter was addressed to each individual so it was not a general letter to “all Church members.” In each letter I shared the Scripture that I have been meditating on for several weeks and I asked each of you to consider what this Scripture would mean for you in 2016. This Scripture will be our foundational Scripture for the first quarter and I hope that each of you will meditate on it and commit it to memory. The Scripture is found in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and it reads, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus; not with uncertainty. Thus I fight; not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
I will come back to this Scripture shortly, but for now I want you to consider the choices you will make in 2016. If you were running a race, you’d have to choose to train in preparation for the race. If you are seeking a job, you have to choose what job to seek and how to go about applying for it. If you were making a major purchase, like a home or car, you have to choose what is best for you and how you finance your purchase. My point is this - our lives are made up of choices. Whether they are good, bad or indifferent, our lives consist of the choices we make the consequences that accompany those choices. When you hear people talking about being free-willed, they are talking about the ability to choose – the right to be able to make my own independent decision. This morning, I want you to consider the choices you will make in 2016. Will you make the same choices as you made in previous years or will this be the year when you step beyond yourself and make different choices? Will you come into your own person to allow others to decide who you are or will become? How will you make your choices in 2016??
I. One Man Chose To Believe Life Was Good
I read an article in a magazine once about a man named George Dawson. You may have heard about him. In 1996 he enrolled in a class to learn how to read and write. At the time of his enrollment, he was 98 years old. Four years later, in 2000, he published the story of his life. He was the grandson of slaves, born in a log cabin, labored at menial jobs and endured racism throughout his life. What is profound about his story was the philosophy that his father had instilled within him. His father believed and taught him that no matter what, life is so good. Please understand what I am telling you. His father did not deny the circumstances in which he lived – he chose to live above those circumstances and believe that his life was so good regardless of the messes he had to deal with on a daily basis. This is what he imparted into his son. A choice to believe that his life was good! He died in 2001 at the age of 103 believing that life was so good! His life was not so good because of the things he dealt with, but because of his choice to believe that his life was good!
Each of us has made choices about our lives. We have chosen what we wish to believe about what we can or cannot do from this day forward. We believe that our time has passed for some things as we are just too old while we believe that we are still able to do other things. We believe that there are some things that we just cannot do because of where we are in life while other things we can do because we see ourselves as still able. The choices that we are making are choices that confirm what we already believe – that we can or cannot do something. How many of us at the age of 98 would go back to school to get a GED? Many would say it was not worth it – we’re just too old to put forth that effort. But what if you believed that it was worth it? What if you believed that you could do it?