Summary: You don't have to be bound...you can choose freedom.
I went shopping with my wife last week…grocery shopping…something I rarely do. It’s not that I’m sexist or anything…I don’t think that grocery shopping is women’s work and therefore not in my purview as a ‘real man.’ It just works out that grocery shopping isn’t usually what I do. But last week I went grocery shopping, and I was absolutely fascinated by the vast variety of choices that were available for just about every imaginable thing.
The aisles were filled with mundane and exotic grocery items, some familiar and many others unfamiliar, and it seemed that in the case of just about every item there were multiple choices to be made. Choices between different brands of the same item, between different preparations of the same item, between stewed and pureed, diced and chopped, sweetened or unsweetened, heavy or lite syrup, salted or sodium free, organic or, well, not organic, locally grown or from far away. The choices seemed endless! In fact, it seemed there were too many choices. It seemed to me that grocery shopping would be a lot easier if there were simply fewer choices. After all, how truly different are all those varieties of canned corn? How many different brands of water chestnuts must I have to choose from in order to be truly satisfied?
Take hot sauce, for instance. I like hot sauce. It adds a little pizzazz to otherwise very ordinary things…like…let’s say, eggs. A few drops on your fried eggs, mixed in with your scrambled eggs, or on top of your omelet…what a great way to start the day! It’s also great with cheddar cheese…a couple of pieces of cheese, a splash of hot sauce on a plate, and you’ve got yourself a nice, spicy little snack. Roxanne cooks with hot sauce, too. She takes boneless, skinless chicken, cooks it in a pan with oil, and then liberally pours in the hot sauce and lets the whole thing simmer for a while. Zowee! Now that’ll make your socks roll up and down.
Roxanne sent me after hot sauce. That’s a fairly easy task, right? Shouldn’t take anyone 20 minutes to find hot sauce and bring it back to the cart, right? Even a man should be able to do that simple chore, right? But there were just too many choices! Too many choices, I tell you! Roxanne had to come and find me, because I’d been unable to make a decision. Let’s see, will I choose Louisiana style, Caribbean style, Mexican style, East Indian style, or Thai style… Okay. Mexican! But will it be jalapeño, habeñero, or chile? Okay. Jalapeño! But will it be green or roasted red chipotle? Green! Okay. Hot, medium, or mild? I dunno. Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else find themselves growing incredibly frustrated in a grocery store of all places? Roxanne had to rescue me.
It’s a silly little thing, I know, but it serves to help illustrate the dizzying array of choices that we’re faced with in life. Besides all of the mundane little things, at some point in life we’re faced with big decisions regarding education, career, mates, children, investment & retirement…just to name a few. Big decisions, all; requiring lots of choices. And the results of those choices will be life impacting. We know that these are important choices, and so most of us will agonize over them…trying carefully to make the right, the best, choice that we possibly can. After all, we know we’re going to have to live with the results of our choice. So, we’ll gather as much information as we can, weigh it all out, seek counsel and advice, and examine things from every possible angle…because we know that choices we’re making are very important.
It’s strange, then, that the most important choice you’ll ever be called upon to make is the one you’ll try hardest to ignore. It’s the choice that affects all the others, that flows to all others, that informs all others…and that’s the choice about the way you want to live your life, about the kind of person you want to be. It’s the choice about the kind of heart you want to have, the kind of spirit and attitude that you wish to portray. It’s the choice about what your life will be founded on, about the rule of life that will guide all your other decisions.
This choice is critical not only because of the impact it will have on every other facet of your existence in this life, but also because you’ll carry the results of it with you into the next one. You see, this choice isn’t just about now…it’s about eternity. At its most fundamental level it’s a choice between righteousness and unrighteousness, between being saved and lost, between heaven and hell. When framed in those terms it’s easy to see just how critical this choice is. Where you want to spend eternity is life’s most significant choice, because the result of the choice will affect every other aspect of your living. It will affect how you conduct yourself, how you treat others, the kind of person you are in success or failure, in good times and in bad.