Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

The Gift of Choice

print Print  |  send Send to a friend  |  bookmark Bookmark  |   |   |  back Back

"The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out" (Proverbs 13:9).

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ know that we are only human beings full of weakness and in need of help. That is why He came personally to rescue us and to give us salvation and redemption. He gives us the free will to choose and never forced anyone to love Him or follow Him.

The gift that cannot be borrowed or bought only comes from the heart; an understanding of the ultimate sacrifice on His part in order to bring us back to His kingdom.

Most human beings are very poor in their thoughts, they talk about tomorrow as if they own it. They neglect to realize that we do not even own a second of life, but all our life is in the hand of God. He can give and He can take. And if we waited for the choice that we have to face with it maybe will be too late.

"'And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'" (Luke 12:19- 21).

In the parable of the rich fool, it show us how a man can be deceived to believe that He can plan on his own even one day ahead. His choice was foolish. He wanted to accumulate wealth and not to think of others. He thought he can be happy and satisfied away from God and all he thought of is himself.

God gives him more than what he can want or need, not to accumulate wealth, but to be a good steward. But he wasted his time and his energy thinking of himself.

"And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center" (John 19:17-18).

When we look at the site of the cross, we see our Lord Jesus Christ in the center and only one cross on His right and another cross on his left. And we wonder, why only three crosses and what do these crosses represent.

The freedom of choice is presented by these three crosses:

  • The cross of rejection: The thief on the left side of our Lord was full of anger and resentment. Although he was a criminal, he never stopped and thought about his last dying breath and did not hope for salvation. He started to mock, blaspheme our Lord on the cross and use sarcasm. He completely rejected Him in his last dying breath.

  • The cross of repentance: The thief on the right side of our Lord was defending our Lord. He saw our Lord not as only a man but also as a God and he was hoping for repentance and forgiveness. He also asked for our Lord Jesus Christ's mercy in a humble way. That is why Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).

  • The cross of redemption: Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ suffered for all our sins in order to give us life, salvation, and redemption. He choose the nails, the mocking, the scuffling, and many other sufferings for He knew that this was the only way to bring us back into His arms.

"Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened, professing to be wise, they became fools" (Romans 1:21-22).

Although during our own life, we never really get to choose where we are born, whose family we are born into, what language we speak, if we are from a rich or poor family, or which school we attend.

Our choices are proportional to our growth. For example, as a young person our choices evolve around who are going to be our friends, what to wear and eat, what college or job we like to have, or who we are going to marry. The more we grow older the more our choices will grow. Yet the most important decision we will be faced with throughout our lives:

  • Is God having any part of our lives?
  • Are we using our gifts for His glory?
  • Do we seek salvation?
  • Where do we want to spend our eternity?

Who is the one who has a right to gain salvation and qualify for heaven? Do we stop and think about our relationship with God, our eternity, or are we too busy thinking about earthly choices and postponing our thoughts for eternity.

Do not wait too long, not even until tomorrow like the rich fool, because we are not able to control tomorrow. It we believe that we can control tomorrow, this is a deception in our mind. We should not wait like the thief on the cross because it might be too late for us.

God gives each one time, health, mind to discern between right and wrong, and freewill. Our major choice is to give ourselves to God so He can work in us like a piece of clay and turn it into beautiful piece, that resembles His quality and character and helps others to come to Him through His grace in us.

May the Lord open our hearts to see His will in us and be a role model for others.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

print Print  |  send Send to a friend  |  bookmark Bookmark  |   |   |  back Back