Sometime last year I did a blog post with the above title. It was based on a story in the Bible, taken from Ezra 2:59-63. It is a pathetic story of a group of people who had more or less “played” with their heritage and could not be found among the genealogical listing when the time came. A few days ago, I came across the post and it set me thinking afresh; I thought of my own life and the people I know, I thought of how often we despise some things without considering the future consequences of our actions.
This morning, my boss was speaking at our daily staff devotions and he brought home the point even more closely. He said that life is a buffet and that God has set before us an array of dishes and delicacies and what we decide to do with the choices before us was entirely up to us. That got me thinking even deeper. These people in Ezra made the choice to marry anyone they chose and risk being cut off from their heritage as defiled. They knew the consequences of their decisions but at the time it did not seem to matter; they could handle it, or they would cross that bridge when they came to it.
What we often fail to realize is that the only bridges we will cross are the ones we have built by our choices and that we often do not build any bridge even though we know full well that we are going to come to a River needing a bridge somewhere in the future. We think we can “handle” it without stopping to ponder the weight of what we are sending to the future. The truth is that we are the sum total of our choices, actions and in-actions. Like my boss said, even when we do not choose, we have still made a choice. If we stand before the array of food and remain undecided about what to put on our plates, we would have made the choice to go hungry; if we fill our plates with strange dishes that our palate and digestive system cannot handle, we have made a choice for a stomach ache and a lot of discomfort. If we decide to load up and consume more than we can comfortably handle just because it is free, we have chosen indigestion and the path to obesity and all its associates.
On the other hand, we can choose to stick to what we know will work as nourishment in our bodies and provide satisfaction to our taste buds, we can choose to be careful and deliberate in the choices we make. We can think carefully about the long term consequences of our actions before we put that extra piece of something that looks like meat on our plate. We can choose enjoyment and nourishment over greed and gluttony in the buffet of life. We can choose to think carefully about that relationship, that lie, those figures that look so tempting, we can choose to study an extra hour, pick our music and movies carefully, watch the books we read and the company we keep. We can choose, yes we can. Life is a buffet and no one will decide for you what you choose; but remember, a day is coming when there will be a list, a book will be opened and everyone will search for their names. At that time it will begin to matter what choices we made as we stood before the buffet table. At that time may we not realize too late that we have become the defiled generation…