“. . . choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . . as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15
Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) spent 2,338 days (that’s nearly six and a half years) in British jails. Far from considering it punishment, however, Gandhi chose to use his imprisonment as an extended time for reflection and writing. The result was that no human in recent history had greater influence on our world through a course of non-violence, having led a fifth of the world’s population to independence.
“Next to life itself,” according to Stephen Covey, “the power to choose is your greatest gift.” Every human being, regardless of circumstances, is granted the gift to choose. Most of us chose what to wear today from a wide array of garments hanging in the closet; and chose from a variety of foods in the pantry what to eat for breakfast. We may take this for granted, but if asked most of us would confess gratitude for these choices. Choice, however, is not limited to the privileged middle and upper classes. Consider the opposite extreme. Those for instance, who suffered the atrocities, abuse, disease and starvation of the Nazi concentration camps, observed Dr. Viktor Frankl, himself a Holocaust survivor, either chose to share and help their fellow prisoners, or they chose to focus on self-survival. It seems difficult to imagine, but the power to choose, limited though it may have been, still existed even within those most horrendous circumstances.
Covey, in his definition, uses the word “power”, for we are indeed empowered by the gift of choice. Covey goes on to say the following: “This power and freedom stand in stark contrast to the mind-set of victim-ism and culture of blame so prevalent in society today. Your power to choose the direction of your life allows you to reinvent yourself, to change your future, and to powerfully influence the rest of creation. It is the one gift that enables all the gifts to be used; it is the one gift that enables us to elevate our life to higher and higher levels.”
Joshua’s words challenge each of us to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” Gandhi chose to serve a higher purpose over victim-ism, thus changing the world. You and I have that same power of choice. Whom then will we choose this day to serve?