Matters of Faith: Choices

By Rev. J. Loren Russell

Joshua 24:15 NKJV
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Life is full of choices. Every day we must make choices. In fact, everything we do requires a choice. Choices describe our past, define our present, and determine our future.

Joshua, after the death of Moses, rose as the leader of the Israelites. It was he who led them through much of their wilderness experience. Because he is now an old man and nearing death, he gives them some sage advice. He reminds them despite their continual disobedience, their murmuring and complaining, it was the Lord’s choice to provide for their every need throughout their 40-years of wandering. They had not made good choices, but the Lord was gracious to them. Now, as they readied themselves to enter the Promised Land, the Lord gives them the ability to choose. From that moment forward, the condition of their lives will be dependent on their making good choices.

Choosing has not changed much since Joshua shared his wise words of instruction. The condition of our lives today is also contingent on the choices we make. Even simple choices like what to wear, what to eat, or how to spend our money take their place in the condition of our lives.

The year 2020 has been a year like none other. Not only are we living through a COVID 19 pandemic where hundreds of thousands of people have died already, some people are choosing not to wear personal protective gear that significantly impact the condition of our lives. There are two other significant choices we are asked to make in 2020 that will impact the condition of our lives for years to come. One is the census and the other the general election.

A census was taken by Moses and Aaron in the wilderness of Mt. Sinai so that they would know how many people over the age of 20 were in each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. That information was used to fairly distribute property when they entered the Promised Land. Today, the census is taken so that the distribution of federal money is disbursed according to the numbers. If people are under counted in a jurisdiction, that money is lost for the next decade. A decision must be made by each individual living in these United States of America to participate or not in the census. The history of this nation proves that the more participatory people are in this process, the more equity is achieved throughout the country.

Every four years, a general election is held to determine who is going to be the Commander-in-Chief of the United States. It is a process that allows the people to elect delegates from each state who will then cast their vote for the candidate they have committed to support. For this electoral process to work impartially, all eligible voters must choose to participate.

I liken the year 2020 to the time Joshua challenged the Israelites to choose whom they were going to serve. The Lord gave them the choice. Of himself and his family, Joshua firmly declared that they would serve the Lord. We have several choices before us today; are we going to choose to follow the guidelines given to us by our medical professionals? Are we going to choose to be counted in the census so that our communities are not short-changed when funds are distributed for everything from education to revitalization? Are we going to choose to vote so that our voices are heard and our opinions matter?

The Lord gave us the ability to choose. It is our God-given privilege. Joshua elevated his choice to the ultimate level when he said to the Children of Israel, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The choice is yours.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook LIVE and author of Matters of Faith: The Book. eBook available at

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