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Moses said, “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess.” (Deuteronomy, chapter 30, verses 15–16)

This reading is part of Moses’ last speech to the people of Israel. Moses successfully led them out of Egypt; they escaped the clutches of the Pharaoh and all his army. Moses then led them through the desert, where they survived famine and drought, and the constant threat of war, for 40 years. Finally, the time came to enter the promised land. A new, beautiful world waited for the people of Israel and Moses implored them to choose life, to choose what is good, to choose God, to choose to embrace that which gives us life.

When you think about it, life is really a series of choices. These choices range from very ordinary ones to quite significant ones. An example of an ordinary, but important, choice is, “When my alarm goes off, will I get out of bed?”

When I was at school (a long, long, time ago) the school engaged a motivational speaker to talk to the Year 12s. He was inspiring in his own way, but also a bit annoying. His advice was, “Don’t think of it as an alarm clock, because that implies danger, like a fire alarm – think of it as an opportunity clock. You’re going to leap out of bed and take on the day!”

Other choices can be life changing. It might be the decision not to do something foolish, or to be proactive in stopping a friend from doing something foolish.

Most of the time, though, it’s the small but positive decisions that build your character over a lifetime. These small, positive decisions start to form a pattern, then the pattern starts to shape how you present to the world; the decision to be a positive person in the world, the decision to encourage others, not put them down. These small decisions all add up. Choose what is good, choose God, choose life. These ancient words of Moses from over 3000 years ago are still relevant today.

The Reverend Dr Theo McCall
School Chaplain