Blog & Pastor Letters

Choosing what is Beneficial

07-21-2019Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

When we are faced with many options, we tend to choose that which is beneficial to us at any given time. Choosing what is important makes us unique in our tastes and in our vision of life. This is evident in the story of Martha and Mary when Jesus entered their home. While Martha concerned herself with serving Jesus at table, Mary chose to listen to what Jesus had to say. Both chose to act differently when Jesus entered their home.

The reply of Jesus to Martha's choice is an admonition of what she needs to pay attention to at that given time. He said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." Between Mary and Martha, one of them did what was necessary when Jesus visited their house. Using our intuition to do things at the right time with the right intention makes us unique. You cannot be dancing when your house is on fire, neither can you be at peace when your loved one is sick. You need to act quickly when a challenging situation comes your way.

Unfortunately, many Christians today do not see the urgency of choosing the path of Jesus like what Martha did. They shelve anything religious and prefer to go away from the Church because somebody or something angered them. They justify their absence based on inconsequential issues because they feel that staying away makes them happy and contended. Such people need to readjust their sense of the sacred and return to the practice of the faith as found in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

The reason for considering a return to the practice of the Christian faith is based on the test Abraham underwent. Three men visited Abraham, they were not men, but angels in human forms. He knew in his heart that this was a test. If he were to fail, many blessings wouldn't accompany his future life. He decided to choose a simple way of helping these three men accomplish what they wanted. He offered them a home, food and security as strangers. By the rising of the sun, they said to him, "Where is your wife Sarah?" Abraham replied, "There in the tent." Then the blessing of the men came on Abraham with these words, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah will then have a son." Without thinking of where the men came from, Abraham assisted them wholeheartedly and he did not expect any gift in return. But since he passed the test, the men blessed him. This is how Isaac is born to Abraham and Sarah in their old age.

Can we learn lessons from this story? Pay attention to your actions when you are looking for something from God or from any human being. When all the signs of closeness to achieving a goal are evident, do not be hesitant about disrespecting anyone along the road. This is a human lesson that appeals to all without recourse to race, color, language or nationality.

Today's world offers us many options to a comfortable life, but there is one option that ensures our eternal happiness: listening to Jesus' words. The conflict between the sacred and the secular should not scare us from choosing that which is eternally beneficial to us. That which is secular is temporary and mundane, but that which is sacred is eternal and spiritual. Our focus should be to think of the hereafter and not of the here and now. St. Paul describes this process as stewardship given to each of us by God. He says, "I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God's stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past." Those hidden mysteries are revealed to us by the presence of Jesus in our lives, just like when he visited the house of Mary and Martha. We must respect the Church which is the body of Christ given the power to help us in our eternal journey.

What is the focus of Christians today living in a world filled with confusing options? It all depends on your ability to know what is necessary and what is unnecessary. Some aspects of our lives are truly necessary but not always important, for instance, living a luxurious life above our means. The option is to cut all luxuriant lifestyle and live according to means. The option of a flamboyant lifestyle can attract other unexpected options that can unsettled us and derail us for greater joys ahead.

The lessons to be learnt are many. The first is knowing what to do under whatever circumstance puts us ahead of every challenge no matter how big it is. Abraham exemplified that and he gained tremendous blessings from angels camouflaged as men. Secondly, every Christian should ponder about the eternal journey that begins with God and ends with Him. It is God alone who will judge every soul, and therefore, the fear of final damnation should preoccupy our minds now as we can choose. C. S. Lewis once wrote, "Either something or nothing must depend on individual choices." It is therefore important to choose things that are beneficial to our eternal journey at every point in our lives because whether we like it or not, there is judgement day, and no one will escape it. For eternal life to be ours, we must sit down at the feet of Jesus and listen to his words so that we can do the will of the Father. How are you planning your eternal life? Keep praying!