Last night, I took my wife out for pizza at one of those places where you stand on one side of a glass case, and a line of servers stands on the other side, in front of various toppings you can choose from — stuff you might like on your pizza.
When it was our turn to be served … the questions started coming:
What size pizza would you like? (That’s another way of asking someone, ‘How much pizza do you think you can eat?”) What kind of crust?
And what kind of sauce would you like? Red? White? Pesto?
Would you like any greenson your pizza?
Our two small pizzas slid along a conveyor belt of sorts, passing from one server to the next;
Now, the ‘cheesy’ question: You want cheese? What kind of cheese? (There were four different kinds.)
And any meat? (Ham, chicken, mild sausage, Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon bits)
So many decisions I needed to make.
People in line behind me got to choose, too. Everyone got to decide on that meat question:
Should I get more than one meat? Do chicken and ham go together? How will that taste?
It seemed like every stop along the assembly line for my pizza had so many choices, and so many decisions.
You want Peppers, pineapple, artichoke hearts, corn, even tofu.
After I’d answered lots of questions and made at least a dozen decisions, my pizza disappeared from the assembly line, placed into a firey oven to bake. When they called my name, I picked up my pizza and took it back to our table. As I sat looking at it, I was somewhat struck by the decisions I had made about that pizza. I had added tofu to the top of my pizza, just to see what it would be like. It wasn’t bad. And if it hadn’t been very good, I’d have no one to blame but myself, because I’m the one who made the decisions about what to add to the top of my pizza.
I’m the one who makes the decisions about what to add to my life, too. Interesting. how I can be so deliberate when I’m deciding somethings in my life — things like toppings for my pizza, or what shirt I should wear today, or where I should go on vacation next year — and yet I have been known to be so nonchalant about other critical choices I get to make every day; decisions that have eternal consequences. I don’t think God cares what I choose to put on my pizza. I’m free to pick what I want. And if I don’t like the shirt I’m wearing? I’ve got no one to blame but myself.
David wrote a specific declaration, in the 101st Ps, that has serious implications I think: He wrote, “I will be careful to lead a blameless life.” I’m responsible for the choices I make.
In II Peter, chapter 1, the bible says that “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life ….” It’s as if God invites us to choose from the incredible ingredients he has faithfully and abundantly provided for our lives. Peter goes on to encourage,
“Make everyeffort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ“
That’s a pretty impressive list of ingredients to add to a life, isn’t it? You want goodness in your life? How about some knowledge? I wonder what ‘self-control’ would be like if I added that to my life? Or a measure of perseverance? Godliness, says Peter, is one of the choices I get to make, along with mutual affection, and love. I get to choose from God’s provision. If I possess those qualities in increasing measure? Well then, what comes out of that firey oven called ‘life’ will be a lot better than some pizza with tofu on it; my life will be a creation of God’s choosing. The life God had in mind when he thought of me.