DayBreaks for 12/27/18: An Everyday Mystery
From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:
Choosing. How difficult it is, and yet how often we do it! How many decisions have you made already today? You decided whether or not to get up when the alarm went off, or to hit snooze a time or two. You decided what you would wear. You decided what you would eat, or if you would eat, for breakfast. You decided (whether you thought about it or not) on the route you’d drive to work, school or wherever you were going. You decided where to park, how fast you’d drive, whether or not to pass or honk at someone who irritated you. You decided what you’d listen to on the radio. You decided what to read in the paper. You decided if you’d take your lunch or buy it. Chances are you’ve already made thousands of little decisions (many unconscious) already today – and your day is just getting started.
Someone has said that practice is what makes perfect. We know, of course, that there’s a smidgen of truth in that sentiment – with practice we DO get better (hopefully!) But we don’t get perfect through practice regardless of the old saying. The only way we ever get perfect is by God changing us in eternity into Christ’s likeness. We can make progress until then – but perfection? No, definitely not.
But if we are to get better with practice, have you ever stopped to think about why it is that we so seldom choose what is best? It’s nothing new to the 21st century, of course. It’s been going on since the beginning of time, and humanistic thinking aside, we aren’t getting better at it throughout the millennia. Adam and Eve were given an entire garden by God and told that they could eat of any tree in the garden – except one. And which one did they choose? The ONE. Jonah had the choice of going to Ninevah or the other direction – so he high-tailed it away from Ninevah. Saul/Paul could choose to persecute Christians or to let them be. Judas could have not betrayed Jesus, be he did. Perhaps you could have chosen to remain faithful to your spouse but you chose unfaithfulness instead. Drugs, alcohol, greed, thievery, murder, lying – all spring from the well of choice. See what I mean when I say we’re not getting better at it?
I’m convinced that we don’t know how to choose wisely sometimes. How can we possibly know in every circumstance what is the very best thing to do? If you know the answer, please tell me! Sure, I know we can pray and God can give us direction, but we still have to choose to go His way and not our own, or He may not give us an answer when we are seeking it.
So what are we to do? Maybe all we can hope for in those cases where we’re not sure what is best is to choose what is better. Mary and Martha were hosting Jesus in their home, and Martha was all a-flutter with her busyness and serving until she got so ticked off at her sister that she even (by implication at least) berates Jesus and Mary – Mary for not helping, Jesus for not telling Mary to help Martha. Jesus, ever gentle and wise, simply gives Mary a bit of praise: Mary has chosen what is better. (Lk. 10:42) Notice what Jesus didn’t say: he didn’t say Mary had chosen what was best, but just better.
What would have been best in that situation? The Lord only knows, but he didn’t scold Mary for not choosing what was best but encouraged her in her choosing of what was simply “better”. Maybe that’s why, in all our ways, we should acknowledge Him and let him direct our paths until we reach that which is best.
PRAYER: I’m so grateful, Lord, that you understand our limitations and don’t expect perfection from us. Forgive us for our foolish choices and help us choose that which is better! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.