“Buy her a diamond and we will give you a rifle.” I had no idea these two items would be competing options. But that is what the advertisements of a local jewelry company suggests. I have heard it on radio and seen in on billboard ads.

I am not a hunter or gun enthusiast and my wife is not crazy about a lot of jewelry (I am a lucky man).

“Hmmm! Should I buy myself a gun or should I buy a diamond for the love of my life?” I don’t understand. Those are not choices that would occur to me. I would never have to struggle with that decision.

I am glad that God created human beings with the ability to make choices.  People do not always act simply from instinct. We have the ability to weigh alternatives and make rational decisions. Our free will is a wonderful gift but it can complicate life.

Don’t misunderstand me. We do not always think things through thoroughly and even when we do, we often allow our emotions and desires lead us to make irrational choices. Wisdom is sometimes overruled by impulse.

Recently a star professional athlete in Atlanta was arrested for driving 95 miles per hour with a blood alcohol level almost twice the legal limit. Clearly he was not thinking rationally when he got behind the wheel of an automobile and started up the highway. Bad decision. Fortunately the police stopped him before he or someone else was killed by another drunk driver.

There is something in human nature that wants to “have our cake and eat it too.” We want what we want. But the reality is that there are trade-offs. Good and bad choices have consequences. Rewards and punishments.

The Rolling Stones reminded us that “you can’t always get what you want… but if you try sometimes… you get what you need.”

When our youngest child was 12 or 13 he said to his parents, “You don’t have to worry about me drinking, smoking, or using drugs.” That was a smart and wise decision that pleased us and one that he has stuck to. Good decision Jonas.

Roy Clark is a musician and singer. Although he is a very important and influential performer, he is probably best remembered as the co-host of the television variety show Hee Haw.

In one of his hit songs Clark described the frustration that many people experience with the routine of life. Every day is the same. When he comes to the stop sign at Oak Street on his way back home each day he ponders should he “turn right like I always have or left and leave it behind?” The country music song continues.

“A man must make his decisions

But he must consider the stakes

For everyman’s life is a gamble

It depends on the turns that he takes.”

The Old Testament leader, Joshua, reminded the ancient Israelites of God’s faithfulness in providing for them against enormous odds. He then calls them to “serve God honestly and faithfully.” He urges them to choose whom they will serve, the gods that others worship or the One who has created, sustained, and rescued them. He concludes by saying, “But my family and I will serve the Lord.”

Every day is filled with choices. And we have the right and the ability to choose, With God’s help, let us choose wisely.

Jamie Jenkins