The choices we make

Published 2:39 pm Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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By MICHAEL BROOKS | Guest Columnist

It was a short encounter that in retrospect didn’t make a lot of sense.

I was in the check-out line when a lady came into the store and asked to step ahead of me. She explained to the clerk that she purchased the wrong cigarettes for her husband, and she wanted to exchange them. She had just left, and the package was still sealed, she explained.

The clerk was uncertain what to do.

“We’re not supposed to take food products back after they’ve left the store,” she said. “It’s part of our COVID protocol.”

The clerk eventually acquiesced and exchanged the cigarettes. The store policy was sound, and should’ve been followed but, strangely, the customer was more concerned over losing a few dollars than over her husband putting carcinogens into his lungs.

The episode made me think of the unworthy choices we sometimes make.

Many of us seniors reflect on our choices. We look back to the time when our children were at home and wish we could relive those days. We often chose to do something other than spend extra time with them. Sometimes it was work-related and couldn’t be helped; especially those of us who were salaried and “on call.” But, of course, there were events or meetings we thought we had to be part of that might not have really needed us.

One of the benefits of grandparenting is that we’ve grown wiser. We push back and spend time with grandchildren and know this is one of God’s great gifts.

And I think the church has thought about choices in this year of COVID. Many of our priorities before the pandemic were worthwhile. Our church had several things planned for spring 2020 that were beneficial, but they had to be shelved. Now that we’re gaining more confidence in our regathering, I believe some of the things I thought were important really aren’t. Having people back and doing ministry together is more important than some of the rules we used to think we needed to enforce.

Jesus summarized priorities succinctly in a well-known verse. “Seek first the kingdom of God, and then everything else will find its proper place,” he said (Matthew 6:33, paraphrase).

If we humbly seek to please God and obey him by serving others in need, we demonstrate our choices are sound. The old adage declares, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster, Ala. The church’s website is