15th JUNE 2024

The relationship between chance and choice - What you need to know — Steemit



1 Kgs 19: 19-21;                    Ps 16: 1-2, 5, 7-10;                 Mt 5: 33-37




On Mount Horeb, God asked Elijah to anoint Elisha as his successor. Today, we find Elijah coming down the mountain to Elisha’s field and throwing his mantle over him as a sign of his calling. It probably took days and even weeks for Elijah to reach the field of Elisha; for the latter however, this encounter was surely a surprise. However, just because Elisha didn’t know of this encounter until that moment, it doesn’t mean that it was a chance happening. It was in the mind of God. Nothing happens just like that. This also means that nothing happens without purpose or consequence. God knows, permits and wills all things. Consequently, our attitude towards everything that happens should reflect this purposefulness. We cannot excuse ourselves for the way we respond to happenings just because they were unexpected. And we can never consider our choices to be without consequence.

What does this mean for us? This is a call to a life of constant reflection. Reflection on what? On what might be God’s purpose for us in the unexpected happening, and our response to it. Memories of the past are often characterized by blaming others for things that ‘should not have happened’, regrets are about things that we have ‘missed out on’, and we wish often for things ‘to have worked out differently’. All these terms manifest attitudes devoid of a conviction of the purposefulness of all things in the mind of God; consequently, we focus less on how we have responded to them, and how God would have wanted us to. The purposefulness of things requires a response; i.e., a definite choice. Elijah reminds Elisha of this: “Have I done anything to you?” That is, “have I forced you to do anything? It’s yours to decide.” Elisha then decides definitively; He was called to a new life, and was ready to commit to it wholeheartedly. A reflected life will keep us prepared to decisively say ‘Yes’ and mean yes; nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.

Response: It is you, O Lord, who are my portion.

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