#Article (Archive)

Decisive moments (Part 2)

Aug 24, 2011, 2:18 PM | Article By: Galandou Gorre-Ndiaye

Not all of us will take the right decisions at the right time, unfortunately. In fact, a large number of us would fall into the category of those who take pleasure in postponing or pushing until tomorrow what should have been done today. A biblical example well known to most believers is the case of the rich young ruler who mustered enough courage just to ask Jesus one question. You could tell he had rehearsed the question several times over and launched it at the first occasion that was offered to him. If there was any question in life that he had pondered on at length it was that question. He asked it alone, away from the attention of his folks. (Mark 10:16)

You would think he did not want to miss any bit of the answer. He needed total concentration, no distraction. To tell you he meant business, he separated himself from the other young people who had just received the Lord’s blessings. His question: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18) An intelligent question from a young man you would admit, but revelatory in many regards of his standpoint. It was a personal question - not what must one do, but what must ‘I’ do, to inherit eternal life? He was approaching the question from what he could do and not what should be done to attain everlasting life. Somehow he thought he would have met all the necessary criteria. Why? He observed the law strictly and even knew them by heart.

The interesting part however is not the question but the answer. He wanted to be guided prior to taking an important step in his life that could determine his future. It was a calculated move. He had carefully chosen an expert, a connoisseur, someone in whom he had absolute confidence. Jesus said to him: “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21) Sadly, when the young man heard Jesus’ response, his countenance changed all of a sudden. “He went away sad, because he had great wealth.” (Mark 10:22)

Such comportment depicts the young man’s mind was not yet made up. He posed the question, but never expected the kind of answer that was given. Who else could have given a better response than the author of eternal life Himself? Our friend did what most of us would have done – shift the goal post. Eternal life can wait. I have enough time to think about it; I have not crossed the middle age line yet. For now, I am busy amassing wealth, living my life by trying to be good. Goodness is not the ticket to eternal life, it is by following Jesus. The young man resolved willingly to miss out on the eternal kind of life. He walked away from Jesus the author of life, the one who many were and still are looking up to for answers to the questions of life.

Young woman, young man you may think life is in your favour and you can play safe – drag your feet even. Oh no! Time is of the essence! Having to take your time would not be a wise move. The time is now! God has only promised today; nobody knows what tomorrow would bring. Death knocks on all doors, irrespective of age, race or creed. God wants us to forsake all other things (gods) and make Him the priority in our lives, offer ourselves for His service. Oh how He longs to transform us from darkness into His marvelous light! He wants to give us a new start if we are ready to crucify and do away with the old man (the flesh) and take on the new man (the spirit man).

When angel Gabriel appeared individually to Joseph and Mary to reveal God’s plan to them about birthing baby Jesus, they were frightened at the onset. Their fears were allayed when he disclosed the content of his mission. Joseph contemplated divorce because Mary to whom he was engaged was “found to be with a child through the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:18) However after the angel assured him in these terms; “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name of Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21)

This must have been a very difficult moment for Joseph, but as a righteous man, he had an important decision to make – to let God have His way so that the prophecy “The virgin will be with a child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, ‘God with us.’ ” will be fulfilled. The embarrassment to him and the disgrace to Mary became second-place to the will of God.

How did Mary deal with this? She had more in stake than did Joseph for she could have been stoned to death for her unfaithfulness. Yet she took her decision on the spot by offering to be the mother of this special baby Jesus. “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38)

These decisive moments have paved the way for a Messiah who has come to liberate humanity from sin. What impact can your judgment, declaration, conviction, commitment at a decisive moment of your life have on your family, community or the world? Think about it.