It has been said that we are the sum of our choices. Meself has thought much about choices as time passes and each year she gets a bit older and learns a little more.
She sees on television and reads in the newspapers the results of choices made by many people who appear to have life’s good things—success, status, riches, fame—only to see them disappear. These people, who have sometimes been held up to us as people to emulate, now find that all they have had is turned to dust. They are frequently bankrupt, sometimes in prison, sometimes, separated from spouse and children but one thing is clear. Their former lives are now in disarray.
On examination, it appears that these results are the brought about by choice. Actions that were chosen. Goals that were followed. Environments and social milieux which were enjoyed or tolerated. All because a particular object or goal was valued above all else.
Conversely, she sees—not frequently enough– on television and reads in the newspapers inspiring stories of inspiring individuals who have made wonderful contributions to the human life and story. These individuals have often, but not always, begun their task in obscurity.
Many of them say “I was just doing my job” or “I only did what anyone would have done. I saw the need and worked to meet it.” On examination, these people have made a difference in the world and these results have been brought about by choice. Actions that were chosen. Goals that were followed. Environments and social milieux which were enjoyed or tolerated. All because a particular object or goal was valued above all else. It may be that they have not sought the publicity they have received but have come to it accidentally. Or it might be that they have at last emerged from obscurity merely to promote a need of which they believe the wider community should have knowledge.
What then is the difference? Two things—what is valued and what is chosen. Jesus explained it to us. He told us that in that place where we placed our values—there would be our heart too. From this would come our choices—choices on how to act, which goals to pursue, which company to keep, what status to seek. Wrongly placed values produce wrongly placed choices.