Summary: This is a sermon dealing with how we go about making choices. I preached it in response to our church’s decision over changing denominations.
In order for us to have arrived here today, we all had to make choices. A choice to get up. A choice to get dressed. A choice to leave the house. A choice to take a certain route. A choice to enter the building. A choice to take a seat and a choice to remain here. Right now we’re making choices to either listen or to tune out. The thing about choices is that it’s hard to tell when a choice is small and insignificant and when it’s not.
The choice to stop and get a bag of chips at the convenience store could be nothing more than you picking up a bag of chips and going on about your business. Or it could become a life changing event if the person behind the counter is love at first sight, and you marry the person. It could be equally life changing if you happen to walk into a robbery that’s taking place, and you’re shot and left paralyzed. How many of you have said, if only I had waited 5 more minutes or left 5 minutes sooner.
When it comes to choices, we are all going to make some really good ones, and there are going to be times we make some bad ones. On the tv program Let’s Make a Deal, the tv host would often give a person a wad of money and say, you can keep the money or you can have what’s behind door number 1, door number 2 or door number 3. Usually what was behind one of the doors would be worth 5 times the amount of cash given. But often behind one of those doors there was something worth less than the amount of money you traded in. Your desire for more could leave you with a lot less.
Most of us want to make the right choices. We want to make choices with the ability to see into the future. Nobody wants to marry the wrong person. Nobody wants to go to the wrong school. Nobody wants to buy the wrong car. Nobody wants to prepare for the wrong career. Nobody enters high school wanting to be a drop out. But these things happen because of choices that we make. Sometimes choices seem to take on a life all their own? Have you ever looked at your situation and said, “how on earth did I get myself into this mess?” It all started with making just a few simple choices.
When we look in our homes, we can see the tension that is produced by the choices that we make. Some of us produce unnecessary strife and tension in our homes over own pet pieves we have, because of choices that we made. In our home growing up as kids, when it came to Christmas decorations, they had to be down by January 1.
I don’t know what would happen if they were not, but obviously something would, because we made sure they were down. My wife’s family did not even know such a rule existed. Do you know how much stress I caused in our home for years over getting rid of the Christmas stuff before New Year’s Day. Here she was trying to enjoy the holiday spirit as long as possible, and there I was trying to end it on time.
Now I was making a choice to cause the stress, but was blaming my wife for trying to hold on to the decorations. You know what I discovered. My choice was a stupid one. I was destroying a relationships for the sake of holding on to a rule that did not matter one way or the other. This year I was so liberated from that rule that it was February before I put away the final decorations away.
Some of us are making choices in our family that are producing stress, resentment and anger, and we’re blaming the wrong person. Say to your neighbor, “you know I just might be causing part of the problem.” Some of the things we insist must be done right now, really could wait until later. Some of them do not need to be done at all. A good part of life is knowing what battle to fight and the choice to simply let something go. You’ve got a choice on how much stress you’re going to produce in your home. Each one of us is either choosing to add stress to our family or we are reducing it. Our way is not the only way for something to get done.
In our Old Testament reading we came across an uncle and a nephew who had both become very wealthy. Wealth then was not measured in terms of stocks and bonds, but sheep and cattle. That’s where your food came from as well as your designer clothes. Abraham and Lot had so many sheep and cattle, that the there was not enough land for the animals to feed and drink. When Abraham’s servants found some water to drink, Lot’s servants would try to muscle in and take over the well for their animals. When Lot’s servants found some fresh grazing area, Abraham’s servants would try to put their animals their first. The choices they were making was causing a lot of friction and tension between the servants.