Monday, February 21, 2011

For the Choosers

I would imagine we've all heard the age-old saying, "Beggars can't be choosers," which I interpret to mean when we're in great need, we'll take whatever help we can get.  While I'm sure whoever came up with this little idiom possessed great wisdom, I would venture to say no matter the state or stage of life we are in, there are always choices to make.  Even in the most destitute of circumstances, we have a choice to throw ourselves a pity party or take a deep breath and ask the Lord to pick up the pieces of our broken lives.

The choices we make in our lives are vast -- where to live, what outfit to wear, what jobs to apply for, what to make for dinner, what breed of puppy to make the family pet, where to send your kids to school, Life or Lucky Charms, etc.  I'm not even going to begin to count the number of choices, or decisions, we make each and every day, but I am going to go out on a limb and say the number is pretty big.

For me personally, one of my daily choices is usually You've Got Mail or The Holiday?

Not going to lie.  It's usually a win-win.

Nonetheless, it's funny because looking back at the many choices we've made over the years, when we string them all together, our choices quite definitive of the individuals we have become/are becoming.

Perhaps the most significant choice an individual ever makes, however, is what or whom he or she makes his or her master.

The options are endless.

Bilbo Baggins served the ring.  Luke served Yoda.

Some choose to serve money.  Others serve themselves or their bodies or addiction.  Some masters portray themselves in even more seemingly appealing forms such as jobs or sex or relationships or friend groups.

Perhaps all of the "masters" listed above seem like perfectly viable options.  After all, we do live in the Land of the Free, so to speak.  Each of us has the right to make our own choices and decisions.  Having the freedom of choice is both a beautiful blessing and a weighty responsibility.  For as previously mentioned, many of the choices we make chart the courses of our lives.

When choosing who or what we serve, we often forget to acknowledge the fact that sooner or later our masters will begin to define who we are and how we view ourselves -- for the good or the bad.

For example, let's look at the classroom.  Teachers have an incredible ability to set the tone of their classrooms -- positively or negatively.  In the classroom environment, the teacher is in the role of master; whereas, the student is in the role of servant.  Teachers give directions, and the students are to follow instructions to the best of their capabilities.  I'm sure we have all experienced a class in which the teacher embodied everything we hoped to be one day.  Think Miss Honey in Matilda.

Or another example could be Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell.  The 90s were my era, if you couldn't tell.

These individuals foster an environment of growth and encouragement.  Because of who they are, they make us want to be the best versions of ourselves and give our best efforts in all of our endeavors.

Simultaneously, however, I'm sure we've all experienced classroom settings that are quite the opposite -- teachers who seem to care less about their students and simply are not encouraging.  Call me crazy, but anytime I have been in that environment, I have not wanted to perform to the best of my ability, if I even wanted to go to class at all.  Even when I've started out with the best intentions -- "I will not let this individual get to me..." -- it is easy to grow weary simply because the master is not fostering a positive environment.

Other master/servant relationships can look a little different.  For those individuals who struggle with addiction, the relationship might be depicted more like a master/slave rather than a master/servant.

From my personal experience, I know it is so easy to make even unattractive things my master such as fear and anxiety.  I have lived as a slave to fear -- despite the countless verses that urge us not to give way to fear.  Fear is debilitating -- especially when you let it control your life.

Because here's the deal, when we allow something or someone to be our master, we relinquish control to that person or thing.

We allow the master to influence or even infiltrate our thoughts, which then ultimately determines certain, if not a majority of, decisions we make.

Recently, the Lord has been revealing to me time and time again that I need to take a hard look at my life and truly choose each day whom I will serve.  Because while there are so many masters we can choose to serve, there is one who trumps them all.  Jesus is the only master who truly works for the good of those who love Him.  He chose us even when we didn't choose Him or deserve Him.  Unlike the other masters we can choose, He doesn't deceive us into believing life as His servant will be easy.  Quite the contrary, in fact, it is written that we will suffer.  But it is also written that "our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of all comfort, comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ."  See 1 Corinthians 1:3-7.  Finally, while many masters make their followers into slaves, when we allow Jesus to be our master, we are FREE.  He lets us choose His love -- a love that pursues our hearts daily whether or not we choose to recognize it.

When we choose Jesus sin is NO LONGER our master.

"Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law.  Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace." -Romans 6:13-15

May we consciously choose each day to SERVE the LORD -- to make Him our one and only Master.  May we choose to live by the Spirit.  May we choose to LOVE others unconditionally.  May we choose to pray for both our enemies and our friends.  May we choose to be committed to the message of the Gospel, as we are all ambassadors of Christ.  May we choose to take up our cross, die to ourselves and let the Spirit reign.  May we choose to find hope in the hopeless and joy in sorrow.

For in choosing Jesus as our master, our cups will continuously overflow.

May we recognize that despite any feelings of failure or notions of inadequacy, we have been made as white as snow through the blood of Jesus Christ, and HIS unfailing love pursues us and will continue to pursue us EVERY DAY for the rest of our lives and into eternity.  He is the only one worthy of our praise -- worthy of being our Master.  Rest in the fact that He loves us more than we could ever imagine.  He will never leave you.  Nothing can separate you from His love.  He is omniscient, omnipotent, and ever-present in our lives.  Nothing can snatch you from his hands.  You are his masterpiece.  And He is with you ALWAYS and FOREVER.

Now just choose to believe it.

Choose Jesus as your master.

He has already chosen you.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." -Matthew 11:28-29

More to come.  All my love!

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