On a recenttrip, I stopped by a store to pick up a couple of items. When I came out, Inoticed a rather scruffy gentleman walking toward me. He needed a shave, his clothes wereworn and appeared unwashed and his hair shaggy and unkempt. His demeanor was that of some of the homeless our church ministers to, but I don’t know that he was homeless.
As he approached, I noticed his black t-shirt had writing. The slogan read:
Genius by Birth
Slacker by Choice
At first, I scoffed inside as I continued on to my car. But, as I drove away, I couldn’t help pondering those words and the truth therein. What am I by birth? What have my choices shown me or shown others about me?
Growing up, I attended church with my parents, but as a young adult, I turned my back on God, my parents, and the church. That decision, or choice, had some far-reaching consequences. Some painful consequences. So, for that part of my life my slogan might read:
Sinner by Birth
Rebel by Choice
When the results of my rebellion brought me to my knees long enough for me to hear God’s call and surrender to Him, I still had a difficult time. Those early decisions clouded my judgement and I had to learn a whole new lifestyle—one that pleased God.
Often my human nature took over—and still takes over—so that my actions didn’t reflect Jesus the way I wanted them to. Perhaps then my slogan should read:
Christian by Re-Birth
Changing by Choice
So many of our choices effect the path our life takes. Think about the following that I’ve experienced or been told.
Overweight by Choice – But I have a slower metabolism. I don’t eat a lot, but I gain weight easily. This isn’t my fault. Isn’t it? I could make choices of diet and exercise to offset that slow metabolism and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Cantankerous by Choice – I can’t help the way my attitude is. My whole family is this way. It’s passed down and there is nothing I can do. (This is something someone said to me about themselves. Another Christian.) I wanted to say, “What family are you taking after? Your earthly family or God?”
Gossip by Choice – I grew up in a family who did nothing but gossip about others. It comes naturally to me and I can’t help myself. Besides, I’m letting you know about that person so you will know how to pray for them. Right?
Or, what about these—
Forgiving by Choice – You said or did hurtful things to my or to someone I love, but because God forgives me, I forgive you.
Kind by Choice – I could walk on by and ignore the fact that you need help. It would be easy to do, as if I don’t even notice you there. But, I choose to take a chance, be a little late, and help you with what you need, even if that means putting your groceries in your car, or simply saying an encouraging word.
Loving by Choice – When others are rude, or constantly rebuff any attempts to show them love, I can still choose to love them. How many times did I push God away, yet He still called my name and waited patiently for me to come to Him.
I want others to look at me and see that my slogan must read:
Christian by Re-Birth
Christ like by Choice
“. . . Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 NKJV