On New Year’s Day, I was disappointed to see my beloved Alabama Crimson Tide fall short against Michigan in overtime of the college football playoff semifinal. It came down to one decisive moment – a risky fourth down call that didn’t pay off – ending Alabama’s championship hopes.
As an Alabama fan, it was certainly hard to take. But as I reflected more on that game, I realized that decisive moments far more consequential than a single football play happen throughout all of our lives. The decisions we make in those pivotal moments can dramatically impact the trajectory of our lives.
I was reminded of this truth when I read a powerful sermon transcript about the most important decisive moment in human history. It describes Jesus’ excruciating struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before his crucifixion. Knowing the horrific suffering that awaited him, Jesus prayed three times for God to take away this “cup” of wrath, agony, and separation from God that he would endure for humanity’s salvation.
Yet ultimately, Jesus surrendered his will, committing to drink the cup and bear our sins so that we could be forgiven. His decision in Gethsemane set the stage for our redemption on the cross. Without Jesus surrendering his will to the Father’s, there would be no hope of salvation.
The stakes of our daily choices may not be as eternally significant as Jesus’ sacrifice for us. But we all face moments where we need to decide whether to follow our own will or God’s. Just like Jesus, it’s rarely easy even when we know God’s way is best. Every day brings an invitation to surrender our desires to what God asks of us, even when it comes at great personal cost.
As we start 2024, may we follow Jesus’ example in Gethsemane, trusting that the eternal benefits of pursuing God’s will far outweigh the temporary costs of sacrifice. Our attitudes and actions in the small, daily decisive moments can ripple into eternity.