You and I are continually confronted with choices. Granted, a lot of our choices are in the general area of small decisions such as do I go with the blue shirt today and khakis or maybe the cream shirt and black? Or do I want hamburger or chicken for supper? Or what show do I feel like watching tonight? The vast majority of decisions we make are ones we are not even aware that we’re making. These range from the tone we subconsciously use in speaking to our children, spouse, or coworker in any given conversation to choosing to scroll just a few more seconds on Facebook before we get back to work.
Most decisions are not “big” decisions in that any one of them make or break us or drastically alter our future (although some can and do such as choosing to run a stop sign or drinking before we drive). Most decisions have cumulative effects and direct our lives in general trends: there is a big difference between out-of-character acting irritably towards someone when we are tired and habitually criticizing or berating another; a relationship marked by ongoing negativity is bound to be riddled with all sorts of relational problems.
There are some decisions, however, that are enormous ones and our futures are determined by them. Marriage, for one, is a big deal. A lesser one, but still important is what college or trade school we attend. But one decision in particular is crucial and must not be treated as a lesser one.
In the book of Matthew, the Bible records for us an encounter that the Lord Jesus has with a man whose soul is hungry. The man has lots of material possessions, seems to be a moral and upstanding citizen, and appears to be quite successful. Yet he knows in his heart the futility of such things. So he goes to Jesus.
He asks Jesus what he still needs (see verse 20). Jesus, knowing that the man has placed his hope in finding peace and purpose in his worldly possessions and position, counsels the man to let go of those things and to follow Him.
The Bible tells us that “when the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:22 ESV).
Perhaps the man went away, thought about what Jesus said, and came back eventually, choosing to trust Jesus as Savior and Lord. Perhaps. The Bible doesn’t tell us. It simply records for us that in that moment, he chose something over Jesus. It is very possible that the man did not come back to Jesus. He may well have been involved in a chariot accident later that same day and not had another opportunity to come back to Jesus. Or he may have lived a long life, his heart becoming increasingly hard and bitter as he continued along the path his decision determined for him. We don’t know.
But what we do know is that the same decision that confronted this man is a decision that we all must make. And just as he may not have had subsequent opportunities to repent and turn in faith to Jesus Christ, we also should not assume that we can put Jesus off. A decision to not trust Him as Lord and Savior at any given moment may be the last chance we had to do so.
So if your heart is hungry and you are stirred up to seek out Jesus, know that His grace has brought you to this moment so that you can yourself receive His gift of peace, love and joy. Be careful to not turn away, taking for granted the opportunity you were given by His grace, but wholeheartedly embrace His love and forgiveness and power to give your life purpose and peace. Some decisions are more important than others; but no decision is more important than this, to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com.” Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed are the work of the author.)