“Would you rather be a bullfrog?” I ask my grandsons.
My finger dramatically lands on the big green bullfrog leaping across the left side of the page. The book with the same title, by Theo. LeSieg (better known as *Dr. Seuss,), lays open on my lap. I slide my finger to the right and I point out our dilemma…”or be a Butterfly?”
I sit in the middle.
The great pacifier connoisseur, having chosen wisely a vintage piece over one of the newer pacifiers, sits on one side. While he messes with his toes, a frown puckers his forehead.
Leaning hard against me on the other side is the one-handed hair twirler. His unique talent is a bit like patting the head while rubbing the tummy. Blonde hair flicks in and around the fingers up top his head, while at the same time, two fingers stick in his mouth like a popsicle on a hot day.
I’m surrounded by rhythmic slurps.
They get serious about the choice proposed by Seuss. Still battling from page one with the dog or cat quandary, we are now faced with another important decision.
Do I really need to choose between things like Bloogle Birds that sing and Bumble Bees that sting? Must I really pick being a table or a chair? Why am I troubled about This Thing or That or the Thing that’s in between?
I mean, I already find decisions difficult. My own son avoids ordering food from a drive through with me, and therein lie really big decisions, like meal number 2 or number 4.
Recently our church community group played a little game of “Would You Rather.” It stemmed from the pastor’s sermon which introduced the book of Ruth.
Naomi and her husband, Elimelech with their two sons chose to leave Bethlehem and go to a pagan country. Their widowed daughter-in-laws chose different paths. Orpah remained in Moab. Ruth chose to adopt the nation, people and God of her mother-in-law. She left for Bethlehem. Ruth chose Boaz’s field. Boaz chose to redeem Naomi’s field and marry Ruth.
All the choices had consequences.
The Bible is a book concerned with divine choices that have eternal consequences. The “would-you-rather’s” are lasting and deep.
The Psalmist declared, “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Psalm 84:10 NKJV
Moses “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.”Hebrews 11:24-25 ESV
Paul struggled with this paradox, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” Philippians 1:21-23 NIV
Peter when on trial for the gospel chose faith against freedom, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29 ESV
What “would you rather” games do we play? And what spiritual impact do those choices make on our walk with Jesus?
Things like would I rather be considered out of touch because I haven’t joined in something which might possibly compromise my convictions? Would I uphold Biblical truth at the risk of an unpopular label? Would I rather build a family or a dynasty? Or would I rather be looked on as lacking compassion or standing for what is right? Would I rather be a bad guy and say “no” to my kids than promote a lifestyle which in the end will lead them away from Jesus? Would I rather be considered a friend of the world than a friend of Jesus?
History records many early Christians in the New Testament, beheaded, stoned, eaten by lions, lit for torches lining Roman streets, hung, and cut in two. Somewhere along the line they had responded to the question that took them there. Would you rather?
I’d rather have Jesus than anything.
Ruth’s choice wasn’t comfortable or safe. It was neither self-serving nor easy. But it was the right thing to do.
This was her answer to “would you rather.”
“Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried.” Ruth 1:16-17 NKJV
Ruth became great Grandmother to King David and her name is listed in the genealogy of Jesus. (Matthew 1:5) She chose wisely.
Would you rather be a bullfrog or a butterfly and the choice of buffalo sauce or ranch pale in comparison to the bigger picture question. We must choose wisely in a world which offers life, but gives the opposite.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 ESV
What would you rather do?
Sylvia, this post is packed with such truths. Would you rather… I would rather choose Jesus 🙌🏻. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Amen.
Thank you Dawn. It was a good reminder as I wrote about what I would rather… I loved hearing George Beverly Shea’s testimony and song. The phrase “than anything,” really touched my heart. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Sylvia, I would rather be a follower of Jesus, but I have to admit that my “automatic mind” doesn’t always go there. Sometimes it is when, as an after thought, I see the better path that was not taken. Thank you for your post and this reminder of “Would you rather”…walk with Jesus. Jan P.S. Your description of Luca and Enzo is so right on and made me laugh out loud! Thanks!
I was so sure I had a picture of Luca and Enzo doing their thing while I read, but couldn’t find it. I’m glad you could see it anyway! Thanks Jan!
I think I’d rather have you (someday future!!) write my obituary, Sylvia! My life of obvious (to me) but seemingly unremarkable choices could benefit from your colorful writing! 😊
You made me laugh. Long long into the future I am sure someone can do a much better job! Thanks for the compliment (maybe?) though.
OH WOW!!!!! Of coarse what immediately comes to mind is ‘I’d rather
have JESUS.’ But I sit here on the computer where I’m not really “put to the test’. I am so grateful to having made the decisions to be His child & to follow Him wherever, as a child. I KNOw that has saved me MUCH grief. All praise goes to the LORD!!!!! Thanks for being in my life as one of many who has helped me in the deeper decisions with GREAT consequences. Many blessings on your day, dear friend. By the way so LOVED the song by George Beverly Shea.
Thank you Marilyn. When the words came for the post, I knew I wanted to find George Beverly Shea sing that song. When I heard the testimony with it, I just cried. What a wonderful thought, I’d rather have Jesus than anything. May we end strong!
If the world could only learn that decisions have consequences. Too many blame others for their problems instead of learning to take responsibility. The Bible stories were given to us to learn from their mistakes. We need to use this manual of life for wisdom.
Our pastor recently said something to the effect of, “Just because you’ve been wronged doesn’t mean you are right.” I know I’ve been guilty of this too. What you say is so true, the Bible is our wisdom manual! Thanks so much Barbara for reading and weighing in. I want to learn as I grow and gain in wisdom.
I would rather choose Jesus than anything. Thanks for making me think about our choices in life and what ones are the most important
Thanks Yvonne for that response and affirmation. I think the song by George Beverly Shea really made me think, and consider my own commitment. I’m so grateful He chose me first!!
Nancy E. Head
Wonderfully crafted, Sylvia! Thanks and God bless!
Thank you Nancy!
Sylvia, what beautiful groundwork you presented to lead us to consider our choices. Even seemingly small choices throughout the day determine whether we choose to love and obey Jesus or not.
Yes, those choices are continual aren’t they! It is part of choosing obedience and spiritual growth. Thanks Jeannie.
I love how your message brings it all together, yet leaves us questioning with. “Would you rather?” As parents, I suppose we all went through the challenging times of saying no to something our children wanted to do when the long term outcome of our discipline shows we made the right decision. The “Would you rather?” or “Should you do this or that?” questions are never finished. We have to keep making them until our time on Earth is complete. Thankful that our eternal home will bring peace, rather than conflict.
You’re right, those would you rather’s never end! I appreciate your perspective that our eternal home will bring peace, rather than conflict. What a wonderful hope! Thanks Katherine!
Sylvia, we’ve just celebrated our 39th Anniversary of arriving in our first country of service with MAF in Suriname. We were back in Suriname on the exact date, June 14. On that day, as on other memorable dates, we tend to reflect on life. I’d still ‘rather have Jesus than anything’! What a wonderful surprise to see the link toGeorge Beverly Shea’s “I’d Rather Have Jesus’ included! That brought tender memories as this song was my Dad’s favorite song above all others. He loved to listen to George Beverly Shea. I also have a recording of Dad singing this. One Sunday evening during one of our furloughs, the Sunday evening service was made up of many specials from the church body. Dad sang this favorite song. It was recorded, and we kids all have it. Mom and my siblings decided to have the recording played at Dad’s funeral. You can imagine there wasn’t a dry eye in that building. We’ve shared the same song with our church friends here, and on one occasion, Dad’s recording. Thanks for the reminder to choose well!
My dad sang it too. Sweet memories. Happy 39 years of service. Thank you for loving Jesus well. And thanks for your comment. So good to hear from you!
Sylvia, I loved your opening story. Your grandchildren sound delightful. You’ve made some crucial points about choice that we all need to consider daily. Thank you!
I’m glad you liked it. I had fun with it!
I had to ask myself this thirty years ago at my mom’s grave. I had expected Jesus to heal her. He didn’t. And I had to come to terms with the fact that “having Jesus” meant accepting He was God and I was not. And what seemed a perfectly wonderful amazing plan to give Him glory (healing my mom) was not what He chose. Yes, there was some definite foot-stomping done by this 20-yr-old. But then He asked me where I was going to go. If I didn’t choose to follow Him—wherever He led—where would I go instead. And then the answer was clear—not easy, but clear. Because He DID heal my mom—just on the other side of heaven. Sometimes I still footstomp around my house when He closes doors I want open or lets my dreams die a slow death. But that day at the grace comes back to me, and once again I have to drop to jump into His arms. Because where else can I go when He has the word of eternal life.
Elizabeth, Thank you for that sweet testimony. I do some footstomping as well, but your comment was such a dear reminder that “I’d rather have Jesus” can include some pain, but always the right choice. Thank you for reading and I do appreciate you taking the time to respond with your story.