OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


            In Joel 3:14, we find a very interesting statement.  “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision:  for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”  Joel’s prophecy revolves around the coming of judgment upon the nation of Israel.  As that day approached, the children of God found themselves in the valley of decision. 

            Just as the Jews were in the valley of decision, so are God’s children today.  Every day we arise in the kingdom of God and are faced with decisions that MUST be made.  Let’s look at some of the things we must decide.  First, we must decide whether we will grow or erode.  Peter exhorts us to grow.  “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and for ever.  Amen” (II Pet. 3:18).  Christian grow by partaking of the Word of God (I Pet. 2:2).  If we refuse to grow, we erode.  Eventually, we erode away and die.

            Second, we must decide whether we will use our talents or lose them.  God has given abilities to every one of His children.  “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey” (Matt. 25:14-15).  We can be as the five-talent man or the two-talent man and use our talents.  Or, we can choose to be like the one talent man who buried his talent in the earth.  If we make the decision not to use our talent we will lose it.  When the lord of the servants returned and spoke to the one talent man, he said:  “Take the one talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance:  but from him which hath not shall be taken way even that which he hath” (Matt. 25:28-29). 

            Third, we must decide whether we will do more or do less for the kingdom.  If we are truly growing we will do more.  Why?  Because our maturity makes us more useful in the kingdom of God.  We have more knowledge.  We have honed our skills.  We can draw from experience.  Thus, there are more doors of opportunity that are ours to take.  But, we can also choose to do less.  Doing less results from several things:  selfishness, anger, weariness, spiritual depression, lack of focus, sin, etc.  Note:  Doing more does not mean we are trying to earn our salvation.  It means that we have come to appreciate the grace of God in our lives and use it to propel us in the service of God.  Listen to the apostle Paul:  “But by the grace of God I am what I am:  and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all:  yet not I but the grace of God which was with me.”

            Fourth, we must decide if we are going to help the cause of Christ or hinder it.  Paul tells us that the church is a body that is supposed to function together in the Lord’s work.  “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16).  If we as a body part refuse to function properly, we hinder the body.  We have all experienced this with our physical bodies.  One finger, one muscle, one toe, or one tooth, can really hinder the operation of the body’s daily activities.  In like manner, just one member who refuses to do his/her part can hinder the work of the church. 

            Fifth, we must decide if we are going to ignite a fire or if we are going to put it out.  Faithful children of God are those who are positive and upbeat.  They want to see the Lord’s church be successful.  They want others to grow and flourish.  They want to be an encouragement to others.  Some, however, do not arise with such a mindset.  Instead of igniting a fire, they seem intent on putting out any embers that are burning.  They are negative.  They are the nay-sayers.  They sit on the sidelines and gripe and complain.  They do little other than run their mouth with much negativity. 

            Sixth, we must decide whether we are going to serve or sit.  There was an occasion Jesus entered into the home of a Pharisee by the name of Simon.  While there a woman came and washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and anointed His head with oil.  Jesus was criticized for allowing this to take place.  In Jesus’ defense of the woman, He makes an interesting statement.  “And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman?  I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet:  but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.  Thou gavest me no kiss:  but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kill my feet.  My head with oil thou didst not anoint:  but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment” (Luke7:44-46).  The difference between the woman and Simon was a heart of service.  The woman chose to serve.  Simon, on the other hand, chose to sit.  These are two alternatives we have before us as well.

            Yes, we are all in the valley of decision.  Many times we make our decisions passively rather than overtly.  Because of this, we often fail to realize that we have made a poor decision.  We erode instead of grow.  We lose our talents instead of using them.  We do less instead of doing more.  We hinder instead of help.  We put out fires of enthusiasm rather than starting them.  We sit idly by instead of diligently serving.  Dear readers, let’s listen to Joel’s words once more as we close this article.  “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision:  for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”