Choose Wisely


If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:18-19

It would only take a few seconds for most of us to think of at least a half-dozen movies which contain a scene that goes something like this: A bomb is ready to explode in 10 seconds or less. A nervous, sweating bomb squad expert has undone the mechanism, exposing a red wire and a blue one. If the correct one is severed by the cutters that he holds in his ever-so-slightly-shaking hand, everyone lives. If he cuts the wrong one, everyone dies. Tick, tick, tick. Five...four...three... RED OR BLUE?!? He doesn't know for sure because the terrorist didn't leave instructions. Finally he chooses one (usually after having the clippers ready to cut the other one, which makes it even more dramatic!). SNIP! The mechanism stops and everyone is still alive. He made the correct choice and sits heavily upon the ground, relieved and perhaps wondering why he got into this line of work in the first place.

Good thing most of us don't work on a bomb squad, or at least a movie bomb squad anyway. One wrong move and the phrase, "I had a bad day at work" takes on a whole new meaning. And yet, don't we approach our choices in the same way? One choice leads to riches and success while the other leads to certain doom? It's like the scene in the third "Indiana Jones" movie where two guys try to guess which cup is the Holy Grail. One dies a horrible death while good ol' Indiana makes the correct choice and wins again. "He chose wisely!" notes the ancient knight who has been waiting centuries to make this insightful comment.

Some choices are indeed as perilous as cutting the wrong wire, but many are not. The fear of making the wrong choice can paralyze us to the extent that we become like the servant in Matthew 25. (You may read the story at BibleGateway.Com.) If you recall the parable, a master gives three servants some money to take care of while he's gone. Two of them "put the money to work" and double it. The third is so afraid of losing it that he buries it in the ground. While he was able to return all of the money, he could have done much more. Christ instructs us to use what we have to the best of our abilities in this parable, but so many of us don't. And often it's because we're afraid to make The Wrong Choice.

Not every choice leads to an "earth-shattering kaboom," as Marvin Martian would describe it. You don't have to think of each one as "one is right, the other terribly wrong." The trick is to prepare yourself beforehand and pray for God to use the choice or the event to His glory...or even to induce a trial that will force you to grow. One of my father-in-law's favorite biblical characters was Enoch, who "walked with God." When you draw closer to Him and perhaps even walk with Him you may find there aren't so many red and blue choices in the first place.

In John 15 we read that it was Christ who chose us! Here we are thinking that His eternal kingdom will rise and fall on the strength of the choices we make. Isn't it better to seek to draw closer to the one who first chose us? Then our hearts and our spirit are prepared for the choices that come our way. Even then, however, the choices aren't always clear to us but God can use them in any way He so chooses, can't He?

My vocational career was a lot like a 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. I spent a lot of time just turning the pieces over and then trying to force pieces together that didn't fit. Eventually the borders came together but it still took a long time and there was plenty of guesswork and plenty of wrong choices. Then, as it filled in, it went a little faster because there were less incorrect choices from which to pick. Now it was getting fun! Toward the end I was putting them into place about as fast as I could pick them up and two days ago here I am, a licensed minister in the Church of the Brethren.

Christ chose you first. Remember that! He will watch as you make mistakes just as you watch when your children mess up. But he won't ever give up on you. Never. And my prayer for you today is that you allow him to turn 5,000 disconnected pieces into a glorious puzzle that reflects the beauty of the one who made you.

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There are 7 comments

What, no reply for me?!?!

Alex Smart
October 02, 2009 - 06:39
Reply to Alex Smart

I fear that if I must reply to all of your aliases the Kingdom work will remain unfinished!

Kent Rice
October 02, 2009 - 17:35
Reply to Alex Smart

It's a fair cop

Alex Smart
October 02, 2009 - 18:10

Your most puzzling devotional yet

Alex smart
October 01, 2009 - 12:28

I thought this was really a great devotional too. It spoke to my heart when I read it and helped me not to be so anxious about making decisions, but to look at them as more of an adventure with God. Thanks, Kent!

Amy Smith
October 01, 2009 - 05:48

Great devotional! That last paragraph makes my heart go bang, bang, bang, bang. Well spoken, sir!
(and yes, that is an action-movie cliche, but I gotta ask, "the movie you were thinking of first, did it star Gibson and Glover? Mine did.)

Shawn Smith
October 01, 2009 - 04:22
Reply to Shawn Smith


Yeah, I think you correctly profiled me as too stuck in the 80's for my own good! I have one pair of MC Hammer pants left that I occasionally threaten to wear in front of my children! lol. Glad this message resonated with you and Amy and I look forward to seeing what everyone has to say!

Kent Rice
October 02, 2009 - 04:51
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