If you've been checking your inbox for the Plan B devotionals, then you know it's been a while since I've written. Some of that is because of a missions trip I went on last week, and some of it is because - shortly before the missions trip - we took a trip back east for a family reunion. We are finally back, and beginning to settle in to the regular rhythm of life, and I'm thankful to have the chance to write again.
While I was traveling, there were several situations that made me think, “That would make a good Plan B devo!”. Unfortunately, I didn't write them down, and now that I'm back there's only one that really stands out to me. I think it’s still fresh in my mind because of the strong impact it had on me. One of the main reasons we went to the family reunion was to celebrate my father's 86th birthday. During the celebration, my dad shared his testimony with the family, which was a wonderful way to celebrate, as we heard how God had been involved in his life in a very clear way, even before he was born. You see, my dad’s mother was a very young, unmarried teenager when she became pregnant with my father. She was seriously considering aborting the pregnancy, when her grandmother - a Christian - intervened and told her, “This baby is a gift from God. You cannot kill it.”
My grandmother listened to the advice, and ended up marrying my dad's father, and completing the pregnancy. After my dad was born, both of my grandparents became believers. They got involved in a local church, and my father ended up being raised in a strong, Christian home. After college, he got married and headed to the mission field - where he served for over 60 years. All three of his sons are married, and have strong, Christian families. And now the next generation of Mays is marrying and having kids, and all are dedicated to serving God. It's an amazing, and unusual legacy to have - and it all came about as the result of a decision my grandparents made to give their lives over to God.
As I listened to my dad share his story, I realized that the wonderful Christian legacy our family enjoys came from more than just a decision to accept Christ - it also came from a lifetime of decisions to LIVE for Christ. My father shared stories of decisions to surrender desires and plans to God, even when the plans didn’t seem to make sense to a lot of people. And he told stories of decisions to live by faith, even in the most difficult situations when he didn’t know what the outcome would be. And these stories were wrapped in the decision to follow God, no matter where He led. The decisions he made over those 86 years weren’t always easy, but the result of all of those decisions built this wonderful legacy which our families now enjoy.
It's was a great reminder that every decision we make has consequences - both for us and for those around us - so it's important that we choose wisely. But this isn’t really a new idea, because it's a truth that the Bible speaks of regularly - with perhaps the best example being in Joshua 24:15. If you're unfamiliar with that passage, it says, “Choose today whom you will serve. Will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This passage comes right after the Israelites have wandered in the desert for 40 years, and Joshua is getting ready to lead them into the Promised Land. But before he does, he asks them to choose how they will spend their lives in this new place God has brought them to - will it be serving the gods of this world? Or will they give their lives to serving the One True God?
And this is the same choice each of us faces every day, because every day the world will offer us other things to serve. Whether it's the pursuit of money, or things, or status, or sex, or selfishness - the world has lots of things it wants us to serve instead of God. But what we have to remember is that each of our choices will have a consequence - either for good, or bad. And what I learned from listening to my father's story is that even the smallest decisions can have a big impact on the direction that our lives ultimately go – which can also impact generations to follow.
So today, let's choose wisely. Let's remember the people around us, and how our choices impact them, and then let's choose to live in a way which glorifies God, while at the same time builds up those God has placed in our lives.