Submitted by Pastor Tom Beutler Watson & Hamburg Baptist Churches
Choices! We make hundreds of choices every day – what to wear – what we eat – what time we’ll do something or go somewhere – what we will say – what answers we give – if we pray – what we pray for – if we give thanks to God. The people who make good choices succeed – those who make poor choices usually do not. No marriage instantly ends – no church suddenly splits – nobody becomes a cynic overnight – nobody makes one leap from praising God, to sinning.
Erosion is a slow and silent process, based on choices. The choices we make determine the path we travel. Choices we make determine the enjoyment we experience in living. The choices we make will determine what kind of fellowship we will have with God our Father. That is why this message is so important. We read about two men who make choices. One made a wise choice and one made a foolish one.
I hope you read Genesis 13:1-18 because I have shortened it for this article. Abraham and Lot raised sheep and other livestock. They had grown very large, and their flocks and herds depended on grazing land and water. Their employees were in constant animosity. Abraham and Lot knew this couldn’t continue. It was time for them to go their separate ways.
Uncle Abraham let his nephew Lot choose which way he wanted to go. Lot saw that the whole plain of Jordan was well watered, and chose the land that looked like it had the best potential for profit. We have history on our side. If you read the next chapter you see the results of both of their choices. Lot ends up living in Sodom. His family is kidnapped and by Abraham, then later Lot was forced to leave Sodom before God destroyed it for being wicked. Lot lost his wife and had other problems. If Lot had to do it over, he may have chosen to go west instead of east.
Abraham ended up in the land we know as Israel. He was so blessed his descendants become a great nation. Abraham made all the right choices.
What can we learn from this scripture? Well the more stuff you have the more complicated life becomes. It is interesting – the thing that causes the conflict between Abraham and Lot’s employees that lead to them parting ways was abundance.
Abundance not only battles for our heart, it complicates our lives. Remember how simple life was when we were young? We didn’t have any concerns with payment plans, interest rates, or insurance premiums. We didn’t have to worry about maintenance schedules, current fashion trends and keeping up with current developments. Life was simple. Choices were easier to make.
While Jesus was here, He had very little stuff to go with Him. When He sent the disciples to minister, He said take little with you. The simple life is easier to handle. Living a simple life today is not simple. The list of basic essentials has grown, and if we want to make good choices we need to unclutter our lives. Choices are made easier if we learn to live simple. Much of the problem with many variables – the more simplified the life the easier it is to make choices. Stop running after things you don’t have and be grateful for what we do have.
How do we know if we are struggling with contentment? (1) Do thoughts of money consume my day? (2) Does other people’s success make me jealous? (3) Does my family neglect in my pursuit of money and things? (4) Do I define success by what I have instead of what I am in Jesus? (5) Do I close my eyes to the genuine needs of others? (6) Do I live in fear of losing what I have? (7) Do I borrow myself into bondage? (8) Do I just give God my leftovers?
If you see any of these things in your life then your decision making skills are compromised! It is time to pursue contentment! It is time to free your life of the clutter, so you can see clearly the next time. Good choices start by asking the right questions: Are you praying for wisdom? Help? The best for your family? There will always be things to be done. It is never ending. The problem is what gets lost in this pressure filled existence. It is time to enjoy the important things: family, quiet time with God, caring and learning and loving each other, living faithfully in this world preparing for the next world of Heaven!
Oh God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! Help us all that we have really lived, our lives have not been empty, help us understand our values are to be different from the rest of the world. Our primary concern should not be to accumulating stuff, it should be to Glorify God, to make the right choices and in every choice trust God’s Word. We thank You and ask these things in Your Name, Jesus. Amen!