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Friday, February 11, 2011

Fundamental Option

"There are two kinds of people," the old joke goes. In a sense, that is true. The two types, those who love God and those who don't, obviously subdivide into a wide variety of manifestations, but there is a point where the division is between one or the other.

As a disciple, a rather poor one much of the time, I have opted for the "love God" group. This Sunday I will preach on Deuteronomy. God says, "I set before you life and death, blessing and a curse. Choose life." Choosing is a particular as well as a general act. I can choose to eat healthy food, but I still must make particular choices of apple, orange, broccoli, or lean meat.

In seminary, we called this general choice to love God the fundamental option. In our rule of life, we live out this choice. Our ethic is how we do it. The ten commandments are a basic outline of such an ethic. We are called by God to be moral. It is important to look at our values and beliefs and assess: am I a child of my culutre or am I a child molded by my Heavenly Father?

The other day at Morning Prayer I heard the words of Jesus, "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out." I was told once that Jesus did not mean this literally. I fought the urge to say, "No duh!" Even so, if He meant it figuratively it is still pretty amazing. Jesus apparently does not subscribe to the theory that "sin is no big deal." I wonder how the world would be if we Christians did a better job of avoiding sin and engaging in acts of loving service.

So, in your rule of life identify times and places where you engage in genuine acts of love and service. Find a group in need, maybe elderly, maybe young, maybe sick, maybe disadvantaged, whatever group it is, find them and commit your time, talent and treasure in service of them. You cannot save the whole world, but you can make a big difference for someone. Make a list of things you want to be known for: "S/he is the kind of person who would never do______" or "S/he is the most ______ person I know." Your behavior creates your legacy. Jesus will judge your legacy. What is your Fundamental Option? How do you live that out each day? Every choice we make and every act we perform goes into creating our life story. Our choices determine if our Fundamental Option is to love and serve God or not.

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