You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. (John 15:16)
One of the greatest gifts that Adam and Eve were given in the garden was those two trees: The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. By those trees, they were given the gift of choice.
After they chose the Tree of Knowledge, one would think that there was no going back. They chose to live with knowledge instead of life. However, the very next story presents the very same type of choice between life and knowledge. What choice will Cain make about how he will treat his brother? Will he choose life and “as the Creator asked him” or will he use his own knowledge of what is “good and pleasing to the eye”?
Story after story tells of the choices people made between life and knowledge. As the world got drenched deeper and deeper in confusion, the choices didn’t seem as simple as to eat or not to eat from a specific tree. It became harder and harder to know what was life and what was knowledge.
Then the Son of the Creator came to us with a simple message: “I am life. I have already chosen you from the beginning. Follow what I have demonstrated for you on earth.” Our choice became simple again. It became only between two people. Do we choose the Son of the Creator or Adam?
But just like it was for Adam and Eve, one choice does not make the rest of our choices for us. Time and time again we need to decide: the Son or Adam, Life or Knowledge. How will we treat our brother when he is blessed and we are not? Will we plan for our futures with a tower that reaches heaven or with a boat that can float?
When life gets confusing, and you begin to wonder if you made the right choice that is when we need to remember this message from the Son: “I chose before you even before you knew you had a choice. Don’t worry about what you will eat or wear or the things that this world esteems. I am with you and empowering you through the choices. In fact, by giving you choices I can now call you friend. Tell me, what do you want? Life or Knowledge and I will give it to you.”
Two Contrasting Conversations:
“You should get your ears pierced.”
“Why?” I asked “No one is going to see it anyway. They are always covered.”
“It isn’t for other people. It is for yourself. They make you feel beautiful. You should never do anything because other people tell you to, you should do things because you want to. I always buy the things that I want because what I want is important. I am going to get another ear piercing because it will make me beautiful.”
Our friend was telling us of an analogy she liked to think about.
“I like to think about gold and wood. Gold is beautiful and lovely to look at. Wood is just normal. What if one day I am drowning? What will I choose? I want to choose the wood. Wood is something that will save me, but gold is just something beautiful. With gold, I will keep drowning. To me, the Almighty is like the wood.”
“What is Thanksgiving?”
I had visited a neighbor that I had known as a teenager. My roommate and I went to her city to celebrate Thanksgiving with our language teachers and other students. Before the party, I visited my childhood friend.
Caught off guard with the question, I began with what I did the day before. “I baked some pies.”
But as I was talking, I realized that was not my favorite memory from celebrating Thanksgiving. My favorite memory is opening my eyes during the long thanksgiving speech to the Creator and seeing all my family and aunts and uncles and cousins sitting at the table with me.
This year, I didn’t see aunts and uncles and cousins and family sitting with me at the table; instead, I stood in a kitchen bustling with members from my team and four young girls who love all the attention they can get. It was in the kitchen before the turkey was cut, that I had my Thanksgiving.
1. Time to reconnect with old friends when I used to live here
2. Language teachers who are very patient
3. Friends who have bank accounts and help us with paying bills. I came to only numerous dead ends with trying to get a bank account. Unless I hear of another solution in the future, I have let go of that endeavor.
1. Developing new friendships. I have started meeting with a college student at one of the universities to do a language exchange.
2. Celebrating the coming holiday with our neighbors and friends
3. Develop a healthy balance in activities: language study, social opportunities, and re-energizing time.
4. Encouragement for those who have chosen wood over gold (see Contrasting Conversations)
5. Hunger for those who are satisfied with only gold (see Contrasting Conversations)
See you in the New Year!
I am on the other side of the Pacific Ocean. I will be working at a Community Center for girls. The Community Center does English lessons, reading clubs, and other activity clubs. I am excited to get to know girls from the community and be a part of the Center.
Would you like to join with me in this opportunity? Send me an email and I will get back to you!