November - 2013

Choosing wisely

Britain prides itself on being a tolerant nation in spite of some extremist comments and racist attitudes. Over the last 40 or 50 years especially, we have begun to experience cultural diversity like never before, particularly in the larger cities. This diversity is especially evident when it comes to choices regarding food. A huge variety of specialist restaurants offer an endless variety of choices on the menu. Even in Rayleigh there aren’t just a few pubs and the fish & chip shop anymore. Supermarkets have shelves packed with Indian and Chinese food in such quantities that it’s hard to remember that just 40 years ago it was hard to find anything ‘out of the ordinary’.

Such a smorgasbord of variety can of course be a metaphor for life. So many choices and so many options!

Young adults are no longer limited by the same career choices their parents had. Men and women are no longer confined by the stereotypes of traditional gender roles and have many alternatives from which to choose. However, we do not always choose wisely and sometimes we do not choose at all. In fact the baby boom generation and now ‘generation X’ is often criticised for ‘wanting it all’.

Within the context of many determining factors — our impulses, motivations, fears, desires and even past mistakes — we use the present to shape the future. Some choices might have neutral outcomes, but generally the choices we make shape our lives one step at a time.

Some decisions have national and international significance. Every five years we elect a new government. Unless you are totally cynical and say that the political parties are all the same, we choose to take a different direction for our nation. The choice of the vision as given by David Cameron, Ed Miliband, and to a lesser extent Nick Clegg guides our country for many years to come.

At an earlier point in history another leader gave his people a choice. Joshua asked the Israelites to make a choice about the god they would serve. He also made it very clear what his choice was: ‘my family and I will serve the Lord’. He made his choice and asked the people to choose the same way, knowing one option was life as we know it, the other an abundant and fulfilling life.

Centuries later, in another scenario, two sisters made a choice. One chooses to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus enjoying his presence. The other allows herself to be drawn away - perhaps by the demands of life or even by her need to do the ‘right’ thing. Jesus made it clear who had made the best choice. Mary is praised for she had chosen what was better.

One of the dangers of having so many choices is that we often attempt to have them all, rather than miss out on something. Jesus makes it clear that when we are distracted by many things we miss out on the best. We need to be aware that many choices are not unbiased. With the support of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we can make choices that truly make a difference.

“Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the [other] gods …, and serve the LORD. Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15)


November 2013