Read Matthew 18:12-14

“He said to them, ‘Suppose your child or ox fell into a ditch on the Sabbath day. Wouldn’t you immediately pull it out?’” (Luke‬ ‭14:5‬ ‭CEB‬‬)

 In life and certainly in our faith journey we are presented with so many different choices. Often times it can be hard to make decisions as to whether or not we should do something. People might offer us the opportunity to join a Bible Study, or to be a teacher in Sunday School, or to be a lay speaker, or a committee member. Perhaps, we might get asked to go on a retreat or to join in on a mission project, or to become a youth leader.

But let’s not just limit the scenario to churchy type of things. Perhaps we’re walking on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, or down the strip in Las Vegas. Perhaps we’re heading to a Broadway play in New York City or taking a tour of St. Monica, California. In those situations we often pass tons of people who are in need and are presented with the opportunity, as Christians, to show the love of Christ by helping meet those needs. Now, I am not saying helping by throwing money at people, but we could invite the hungry beggar to join us for a coffee or for a meal. We could stop and listen to the artist busking in the street and even engage in conversation with them, taking interest in their life story and donating a little money for their artistry.

Even beyond those types of things, how many times are we in the supermarket, or the laundry mat, or the doctor’s office and sit silently avoiding eye contact with the people around us. In those moments, we’re presented with opportunities to engage with people. We all know of the countless opportunities that are presented to us each day that we must choose as to whether we take them or not. Yet, in those moments we either find ourselves oblivious to the actual opportunity, or we find reasons as to why we should not take it.

In the church scenario, it is not uncommon to hear a list of reasons as to why someone cannot do something. “I’m tied up at the moment,” “It’s my only day off,” “Sunday’s are my only time to sleep in,” “Not enough people show up to make it worthwhile for me,” “I’m burned out,” “I’m not comfortable with that,” etc. The list goes on and on and on. In terms of being outside of the church, people often say things like, “I’m not a people person”, “They’re just going to use that money for alcohol and drugs,” “I’m too strapped for money myself,” “That person should get a ‘real job’, “God helps those who help themselves,” etc.

One of my mentors used to say that, in ministry and in life, there are often ninety-nine, or more, reasons why we can’t do something, yet there is ONE reason why we should: because it is the right thing to do. Conversely, I would state that there are often ninety-nine reasons why we can do something, and ONE reason why we should not: because it is NOT the right thing to do. We are constantly being presented with choices, and in the face of those choices we are constantly reasoning one way or another as to whether which way we will choose on any given choice.. The question for us is this, is our reason merely serving the purpose of justifying the decision we’ve already made (aka excuses), or are we allowing our conscience-driven reasoning to serve the purpose in guiding our decisions? Rememeber there are ninety-nine reasons why we can’t do something, but there is ONE reason why we should: because it is the RIGHT THING TO DO. I pray that we will allow our reason and conscience to help us discern what we should be doing, rather than letting our excuses to dictate why we can’t. Think BIG because we serve a BIG and AWESOME GOD!

“Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” – W. Clement Stone

Lord, help me to discern what the right thing is and give me the resolve to do it because it is the right thing. Amen. 

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