A Whole Lotto Choices

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 30, 2016

Well, much of the Powerball Lottery hoopla and hype has departed our environs, now that the $1.5 billion have been claimed by the three winners. At the last count, the new balance is now a paltry $96 million. Of course, the financing of these numbers is due to the many millions of our fellow citizens who dream, and they dream big. Often, we hear the mantra,” I will quit my awful job, build a new house, get a new car, give some money to the kids, and a bit to charity.”

This is all well and good, this dreaming. For the many millions of folks who participated, they have been left with only their dreams and a swift return to their toils and unchanged lifestyles. Some were able to afford to play the lottery, some were not, each hoping and dreaming Lady Luck would smile upon them. In truth, other than the few, it was not to be. Yet, in the play, there was a sense of worship, in this feverish seeking of unearned wealth, going beyond dreaming.

When God spoke to Moses, on the mountaintop, the first commandment was, “Thou shalt not have no other gods before me.” This is a pretty simple directive, as the language is clear. Yet, it is fraught with interpretations, entirely of our own human filtering and devising.  Here is the very slippery slope, as the defining line of appropriate worship is not made clear. If, as Christians believe, everything comes from God and God is everywhere, then are we not to use all of God’s gifts to the fullest?

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Let us acknowledge the gift, from God, of our ability to make choices; both individually and collectively in another Godly gift, our great country. Theologians will tell us that, without choices, there would be no sin and we would have no intellect, only bestial responses. However, we do have the gift of choice and, with choices, comes responsibility.

The parables, spoken by Jesus Christ, are most instructive for the choices of our lives. Within the Parable of the Prodigal Son, we observe, “And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” Yes, we see a judgment here about the choices the son did make, and the judgment is coming from the Son of God. This should awaken the reality of making the proper choices, and making the correct judgments is our own lives and for those whose care we are entrusted.

When we begin to worship deities, and let us define deities as anything other than our Creator, we have made a choice. When we place ourselves, and our interests, above God’s calling to us, then we have made a choice. When we understand and accept what God seeks from us, and for us, then we have made a choice. Let us note, Adam and Eve made choices in the Garden of Eden and, who could argue, we have not been directly affected?

Each of us may be enticed by the glitzy spectacles of the pleasures of this world. We, as His creatures and, no matter how sophisticated we believe we may be, are so easily enticed to make errant choices, in our relationship with God. It is in our nature to do so. Our dreaming permits us to think on greater things. How remarkable it is to dream about the wonderment of God and consider the choice he made in creating each of us in His own image.

Now, what are we going to do with that choice today?

By Fr. Jonathan J. Filkins