You Have a Choice
18 Manuary, 2016
Because most of the audience who will ever read this is going to be American, I’ll write with that perspective.
As I sit here looking over Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, I am somewhat overwhelmed and amazed at its beauty. Everywhere I turn looks like a page out of a National Geographic staring back at me. It looks like adventure. It looks exciting. And it’s beautiful. As I sit and I think about the people of this world, I am in love. The orphans and widows. The successful and kind. But then again, I struggle to simply like people sometimes. Why do I say all this. Because looking over Addis Ababa is easier than going in it. Going in can be frightening. Going in can he overwhelming. Going in is always harder than looking over. And it’s the same with people. It’s easy to love people from a distance. It’s hard when they’re up close.
My first reaction is to want people to be like me. I want the drivers to drive like they do back home. I want the corruption to stop and the people to be blessed. But then I look closer and the people are still smiling. Is it me who has the problem? What can I do to fix the problems? I wonder. Then I realize I can’t. And this is where I want to place a contrast. As an American. As a westerner. You are blessed with many many choices. You can decide to go to school and be whatever you want, if you’re willing to put in the work. You can choose your career and—whether you believe it or not—decide how much money you want to make. And I look over Ethiopia and see few choices. The world is filled with people who don’t have many choices. But if you’re reading this you probably do. And as I read this I do too. Are we thankful?
As I sit and look over a beautiful city I realize my money can’t do much to help. But there is still a choice. There are more important choices than the career we take, the amount of money we settle for, and the lifestyle we’re happy living.
Easter was approaching. The time when Christians celebrate the resurrection of our Savior. The greatest day in history. And this preacher didn’t want to preach. Thousands were waiting to hear his words of encouragement, love, and grace. But he wanted to stay home. He wanted to celebrate Christ intimately and privately with his family. He had an important decision to make. He decided to preach. He didn’t let his short term desires influence a long lasting decision. So he prepared himself and went to the pulpit that Easter Sunday with the words of the 126th Psalm giving courage.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
– Psalm 126:4-6 (ESV)
You see this Easter wasn’t just like any other. This Easter was the second anniversary of his youngest son’s death. But because Rick Warren decided to be faithful 2,604 people gave their hearts to Christ.
It’s not money this world needs more of. Yes, income can help us survive. But it’s not what’s most important. The most important thing any of us needs is Christ. He is the most important decision we can make. No matter what our perspective. Whether we’re rich or poor, we need Jesus. Whether we’re Christian or Atheist, we need Jesus. If you know Him already you can decide to share Him. And if you’ve never had the chance you can decide to follow Him. Jesus provides us with our most important decision every day. What will it be?
As I sit here and think about the orphans I was privileged to embrace today… We can’t always help every need. But Jesus can. The little boy brought five loaves and two fish because that’s all he had. But Jesus used it to feed five thousand families. What do we have. Will we decided to give it?
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared of you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcome You, or naked and clothe You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.” – Matthew 25:34-40 (ESV)