I came across a story about a guy who was trying to do his part to help out with the environment, so he set up an extra trash can in his church foyer and posted above it, “Empty water bottles here.” Perhaps he should have been a little more specific, because when he went back later to check it, he didn’t find any bottles in it, but it was full of water.
We often have a hard time deciding the right thing to do in certain situations because it’s unclear what’s expected of us. We read the directions as we see them, and sincerely and earnestly try to do what we think is the right thing. There may be a need for clarity–“put empty bottles in the can”–lest we find a can full of water that has been emptied from the bottles.
Sometimes, it’s a little more complicated however, when we are getting our messages from a myriad of sources and we don’t know who to believe. It may be that there are so many choices, and we find ourselves frustrated and confused trying to make black-and-white decisions in an increasingly gray world. I don’t think it’s ever been more difficult in that light than it is today. Yet, on so many different levels, it is more simple than we would like to admit. We just have to choose, right.
I heard another story about a man who was traveling across country on an airplane. About halfway through the flight, the flight attendant came by and asked the man, “Would you like dinner?”
The man responded, “What are my choices?” The flight attendant answered back, “Yes, or no.”
Pretty simple, really, But in a world where we have hundreds of choices of what breakfast cereals we’ll eat in the morning, we tend to expect multiple options for all that we do. Often, it’s just not that complicated. It’s a matter of “Yes” and “No.” The broad road, or the narrow gate. The left path, or the right path. The word, or the world.
You probably remember the simple challenge Joshua gave the people of Israel as they entered the promised land: “Choose this day whom you will serve.” I hope you are ready to say as Joshua himself said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It’s a pretty simple choice, and it’s the right thing to do.
I’m praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.