Sep 23, 2008, 6:06 AM
There comes a time in a person’s life when s/he will have to take very crucial decisions at the crossroads of his/her life; decisions that may not only affect his/her life directly but which may also affect indirectly the lives of members of his/her family, relatives and friends. Sometimes these decisions have to be made immediately, others after reflection and many more as we enter womanhood or manhood - a time when we seek to, as it were, literally break away from the apron strings of our parents.
Sometimes these are decisions that cannot be postponed; the situation may be life-threatening and we need to act fast. Other times, they constitute fundamental steps in the process of self-awareness; delaying them may be dangerous – the repercussions are far-reaching. In short, there is no way we can run away from them; no one can take them on our behalf. It is all part of growing up.
When you come to such a crossroad what do you do? What is your reaction? Can you stand the pressure? The issue may be deciding to take a spouse, becoming a parent, quitting your job, travelling long distance and for a long period of absence, becoming a Christian or simply giving up your business. Throughout our lives we are faced with choices.
The choice we have to make becomes a major factor that would impact our lives forever. When we fail to choose, when we keep pushing these decisive moments away in the hope that the urgency will diminish with time or that the thought will go away, we have taken a decision.
The ideal thing is that we learn how to take decisions fast, bearing in mind of course what the consequences would be. What would stop you from not taking a decision? Fear? You are overwhelmed and do not know where to commence? You are a political leader and would not like to offend your constituents; you want to tread slowly to secure your seat? Whatever you choose to do and how you choose to do it means you have taken a decision.
In the Scriptures, Jesus tells us of an important choice we have to make as believers. That choice is between God and money. “You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24) Money can become a god in our lives when we worship it, when it becomes the ‘be all and the end all’ of our lives; when it enslaves us and takes up all of our time and energy and when we stop at nothing to have it. We cannot dispute the fact that money in itself is something good, but it is the love of it that becomes an issue. The Bible qualifies money as the root cause of all evils. “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10)
Why does Jesus underline the need for us to decide to whom we show allegiance? We read in Matthew chapter 6 verse 24; “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.” Our Lord Jesus is saying we need God in our lives and money as well, but how we deal with them does matter. The money god will fail you and there is no doubt about that. God the Almighty is the God above all other gods. He is faithful and true and has promised He will never leave us nor forsake us.
What do we consider more important in our lives? Who or what is ruling our lives? Who or what are we bowing down to? Jesus is calling upon us to choose. We cannot continue to have one foot in each camp not knowing with which foot to dance. God cannot compete with money for influence over our lives. Money is a god and God cannot tolerate our allegiance to something or someone else other than Him. The first commandment spells it out clearly: “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3)
The Children of Israel were staunch worshippers of idols during their long sojourn in Egypt. It was fast becoming a chronic disease. Even after God delivered them from slavery and revealed Himself to them, every now and then they would go back to their bad habit of worshipping idols. It was so bad that after conquering a nation by the mighty hand of God who had led them, they would worship the gods of the nations they had conquered. It got to a point where Joshua, the young leader who has succeeded Moses, could not tolerate this kind of behaviour any longer so he summoned them to a take a decision. “Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.” (Joshua 24:15) It was a decisive moment for the Children of Israel. How long could they waiver between worshipping the true God and other false gods?
What other gods do we have in our lives other than the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob? They may not literally be ‘sacred images’ or idols but they have taken up prime time in our lives. Has your job become your god? Have you substituted your spouse and children as your god? Has the car you drive or the house you have built replaced the God you worship? If any of them has, it is time you reflect on the gravity of the situation.
When Joshua confronted the Children of Israel and demanded a decision, he also made a pronouncement underscoring his commitment. He said: “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Moments like these characterise our lives. We have to decide without having to look back to count the cost. Let not money rule our lives but God who gave them in the first instance. Let us put away all those idols – whatever their shape or form and let us worship the Lord, our God.