The most defining decision I made was to obey God especially when the stakes were high.
Happy birthday! Today you turn “twenty-fine,” as your friends call it. Let’s cut to the chase. Now that you are officially a millennial, I know you think you may have heard it all from your “old-fashioned” elders trying to give you advice. But there is one thing you must remember: the four C’s of life. With every challenge there comes choice, which leads to a consequence, which, in time, determines our character.
Looking back as a seasoned 50-year-old lawyer* at the peak of my career, I owe all my success to God’s favor and blessing upon the choices I made for Him when I was in my 20s. Mama always told me that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything. The most defining decision I made was to obey God, especially when the stakes were high.
One of these defining moments of my successful career was made decades ago during my final-year examinations in law school. I remember it as if it were yesterday—the knot that twisted in my stomach as my lecturer announced to my class that the very last exam I was to take was slated for the early hours of the Sabbath. “There will be no exceptions—not even for the Adventists in this class,” he vehemently bellowed. Ouch! Failure to sit for this exam would definitely prevent me from graduating as a lawyer.
My mind raced back, covering the past five years of my life, to all the sleepless nights and weary days spent reading and cramming voluminous textbooks. Was all that for nothing? Surely. God, You will understand if I sit for this one last exam, right? The thought was just too tempting. Back then, just as it is now in my 50s, my biggest fear was that of failure.
With every challenge there comes a choice.
On the fateful day many of my fellow Adventist classmates entered the examination room, as I made my way to church to open the Sabbath. In the midst of worries God’s peace surrounded me. I realized that my academic future was uncertain. My chance at graduation was slim. Five years of law school down the drain! I had made a decision that would result in a consequence.
Every choice has a consequence.
The following week I went to appeal my case before the dean. He referred me back to the lecturer, who was livid at my “rebellion” for not sitting for his exam on Sabbath. However, in a miraculous twist of events, he offered to let me sit for a special supplementary examination the following month. I was stunned. The same God who had delivered the three Hebrews (Dan. 3) had done it again, just for me. He orchestrated events to ensure that I would have an extra month to prepare for this important final exam! I eventually graduated on the dean’s list with honors.
The choice determines your character.
Worship will be the defining issue as we approach the end. “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come” (Rev. 14:7, NIV) is the clarion call of earth’s final moments. I learned that making right choices in my youth has helped me to make right choices now—and prepares me to continue doing so in the future. The simple decision not to bow to the pressure of sitting for an exam on Sabbath has prepared me for even tougher decisions. With every challenge there comes choice, which leads to a consequence, which, in time, determines our character.
* Many thanks to my lawyer friend who graciously allowed me to retell this true story through his eyes.