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Points to Ponder: Little Decisions Guide the Big Journey

Points to Ponder
Little Decisions Guide the Big Journey

I know a mom who sends her little boy off for the day with this little admonition: "Make good decisions." You have to think about that and consider what kind of decisions a little boy needs to make in a typical day. You might say, little ones.
The big people, the grownups, make the big decisions, right? What kind of a house or a car to buy are major decisions which have long-term implications. But there are seemingly insignificant ones that lead to very significant outcomes in the future as well. So it's a good idea to start early in thinking about the little decisions. Ultimately, when you look back on your life you will often find that some of the major turning points in your journey ("I never thought I'd be doing this.") can be traced back to one little decision.
I know a man who became a master carpenter. He built his own home and much of the furniture that was in it. It was his craft and trade and he loved it. It was how he supported his family. But it all began when he was a small boy.
His neighbor was a master carpenter and this boy decided to hang around him and watch him. Eventually he tried to do some of the things he saw the man do. He discovered he had a God-given gift. Through a small decision about hanging around this man instead of playing or doing something else, he made a life, not just a living.
There are a lot of bad decisions, of course. We read about their results in the newspaper. Some end up costing someone, or several people, their lives. Think of all the young men and women who will live out their lives in prison, their potential for good left undiscovered. Then there are others who never did time in prison nor did anything deserving of such a punishment, but they wallow in futility. No ambition, no inner drive to aspire to something better than what they have become; they're just "hanging in there." Some by their lethargy and inertia just hang. Sometimes we call these folks "losers."
I could develop several individual points here which we could ponder; yet they each would reach back to the same common root: decisions. Little decisions can lead to big things, both triumphs and tragedies.
In the Garden of Eden, Eve was confronted by a cunning serpent who could talk (perhaps that wasn't unusual then). He challenged her understanding of God's nature. He told the first lie in recorded history, first posing it as a question: "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" No, Eve told him, there is only one that's off limits. Eating from it would cause them to die, she said. Then he lays down the challenge: "You will not surely die" (Genesis 3:4).
Eve has a decision to make. It's only fruit, right? Little decision. But what underlies this decision is a deeper matter. Eve had to decide what she believed about God, His nature, and His word. Whether to decide to eat the fruit would actually be compelled by whether she would decide to believe God or this creature and her own reasoning.
Have you ever considered that at the root of most - if not all - of your decisions, what you believe about God is what compels you? Even if you never consciously thought it through (e.g., "I wonder what God thinks about whether I buy a blue or a red car?"), every decision has a basis.
Maybe you don't think God's involved in your life; perhaps you don't even believe there is a God. Don't you think that belief (or lack of it) influenced your decisions by essentially not influencing them? If you live by no higher principles than the dictates of your own common sense or the pursuit of your own happiness, there may be a long line of little decisions both behind you and yet in front of you that keep you going day to day for no particular purpose other than your immediate goals. And then you die. Then what?
Well, that's rather abrupt, rather dark, you say. I guess that depends on how you decide to look at it.
History is going somewhere. You are living through this portion of it. If your life and the role it's playing in your corner of the world at this point in time is no bigger than your limited view, then is it possible you've overlooked some serious and necessary decisions you still have time to make?
How do you make good decisions? Start with the basics. Draw a circle around yourself and deal with what's within that circle. Then expand your horizons. Basic principle:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Sound simple? Well, go back and really study every word. Then just for kicks go back and revisit some of your decisions. Would they be different? Would other options have appeared? Would some other ones have never come up?
Read a Proverb each day for a month (there are 31). Add in Matthew 6:19-33. Try to journal thoughts, reflections, and questions. Maybe something in your life will change for the better. Maybe you.

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com

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