Even in a religious community we face many personal choices each day: like whether to obey the rising bell and get up on time in the morning or try to sleep a little longer, which cereal to choose to eat for breakfast, what to tell someone seeking our advice. Such choices do more than just express who we are. They also help form our character. Are we decisive or reluctant? Are we impulsive or reflective? Do our choices strengthen generosity or reinforce selfishness? Occasionally we face a choice that is life-changing. And all of these big decisions are influenced by every little choice we’ve made along the way. They have helped form us into who we are.
It was the same for the ancient Israelites. At the end of his life, their leader Joshua called everyone together for a final exhortation. Born in the wilderness, these people had followed Joshua across the Jordan into the Promised Land. They had defeated one enemy after another by following his divinely-inspired battle tactics. What would happen to them after Joshua died?
Joshua made it simple, he said to them: choose this day whom you will serve, the true God or one of the many pagan gods of the surrounding peoples. Respecting their freedom to choose, he simply declared his own intentions: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
With one voice, the Israelites promised to serve the God who had done such mighty things for them. Sadly, the Scriptures reveal that this was not a wholehearted choice. Just as the Israelites had long practiced grumbling and complaining whenever things went wrong, they again turned away from God whenever a new problem or a new enemy threatened them.
And so, let us pay attention to all the little choices we face today, making them with hearts generous and open to God. By taking these little steps of faithfulness, we will find it much easier to make the bigger steps whenever we encounter them.