We sit down in a restaurant and prepare to order. The menu is nowhere near as elaborate as it would be in a restaurant in the States, but the items listed sound pretty good. The waiter comes. “Could I have spaghetti?” “Sorry we don’t have that today.” “Okay, I will try your Indian curry.” “Oh, we don’t have that either.” “What about vegetable samosas?” “Hmm, Let me go check… (5 minutes later)… “Sorry we don’t have any samosas.” “Okay, maybe you should just tell me what you DO have.” “We have some fried chicken. And we also have beef stew. You can have it with rice or ugali.” Ooooh; we should have started there!! The choices were just an illusion.
Assumptions about the right to choose is one of the most striking yet subtle differences between lifestyles in the “west” and in the developing world. A majority of the world’s population does not have the luxury of choosing what to eat on any given day, where to live, or what job to accept. Yet in the States, there are a myriad of choices for just about everything, from the type of bread crumbs to the flavor of chewing gum to more significant things like education or career options. In that context, we do not realize that choice to that extent is a luxury. We consider it a right – a normal part of life.
Not so in Africa, or most of the developing world for that matter. For a young person in Kenya, the university system chooses which major you will take or which school you will go to. Exam results plus the family’s decisions determine which professions are open to you and which ones are not. A child in the West is encouraged to dream an individualistic dream; a child in the developing world is given a blueprint to conform to.
But regardless of culture or economic standing, God upholds our right to choose. Everyone must choose whom to serve. Everyone must choose between life and death.
These words caught my attention recently: “If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return.” The ‘heroes of faith’ listed in Hebrews 11 were heroes precisely because they made the choice to persevere, to be steadfast and to not give up. They could have chosen otherwise!
Even after starting on the journey of faith, we still have choices. At any point, we can choose to ‘go back.’ Or we can choose life. Certainly “every decision we make will have an impact on our future.” (RM)
Think about your choices today.