Life’s choices determine who we become

By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist

I wrote about my mother’s two cousins several years ago. These two grew up in northeastern Arkansas and participated in a school club, the Busy Bee Club. There they learned homemaking skills like sewing, cooking and gardening.

One year their club entered a competition for rural schools. The competition was at the school in Marked Tree, Ark., so the girls traveled with their classmates to Marked Tree for the competition.

On that day, their mother sent them off with clean, starched matching dresses. Each carried a coin purse full of coins from money earned doing chores. Their collective earnings amounted to 25 cents.

They arrived in Marked Tree by wagon. After the morning competition, the teacher took them to a drugstore for lunch. The main attraction was ten cent deal — a Coke and a hamburger.

The cousins pondered their order. Their mind was not on hamburgers but the big box of Dumbbell suckers that sat on the shelf. Dumbbell suckers looked just like dumbbells, with candy at both ends and they came in the flavors of grape, cherry, strawberry and lemon.

The girls reasoned that since their mother was not there, the choice was theirs.

“We’ll take that box of dumbbell suckers,” one sister told the woman behind the counter.

“The whole box?” the woman asked in surprise.

“The whole box,” said the cousin.

“That’s 25 cents,” the woman said.

The girls opened their coin pursers and dumped 25 cents on the counter and walked out with a box of Dumbbell suckers.

During lunch the cousins licked their suckers, cracked the hard candy with their teeth and even gave a few away. After the two hour hot wagon ride and all that sugar, the two knew they had made the wrong choice. First they were queasy and then both were really sick by the time they arrived home. Neither girl wanted to ever see another Dumbbell sucker.

Life is made up of good and bad choices. Some choices are not necessarily bad, as in the case of mother’s cousins, but some choices are not the best.

Then again some choices are bad. Lot made a choice, pitched his tent near Sodom and it negatively changed his entire family.

Jacob made a choice and deceived his own father. Jacob’s boys made choices and their lives were never the same from then on.

Saul made a choice and he fell out of favor with God. David made a choice and ruined his marriage.

Then some choices are good. Joseph made a choice, turned away from Potiphar’s wife and God blessed him.

Rahab made a choice, and, even though she was a prostitute, sided with God and is listed in the lineage of Jesus.

Hannah made a choice, fulfilled the vow she made to God and Samuel her son grew up to be the most influential godly man in Israel.

Job made a choice, praised God even in the midst of a terrible condition and he was rewarded.

Long ago, Joshua chose to be true to his faith when he challenged the Israelites to choose who they were going to serve. In the Bible it is recorded Joshua’s testament of faith: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15). He was firm in his choice no matter what anyone else thought.

Eating a dozen Dumbbell suckers has its consequences but those are short lived. Yet some choices have a bearing for not only today but also for eternity.

Little choices everyday throughout our lives form who we become.

Where are you headed today because of your choices?