It’s up to you, my friend.

I’d like to share an old Wisdom story. It’s a story about a young rabbi who was frustrated that the people of the synagogue didn’t recognize his gift of wisdom. This made him bitter and resentful.

One day an old and revered rabbi was invited to the synagogue. He was recognized as a very wise person. As the old man was teaching, the young rabbi came up to him with a tiny sparrow in his hand.

He asked, “Can you please tell me if this sparrow is alive or dead?”

Now the young rabbi had planned that if the old rabbi said the sparrow was alive, the young rabbi would crush the small creature, hold it out for all to see, proving the old rabbi wasn’t as smart as they thought. If the old rabbi said, “The bird is dead,” the young rabbi would release the bird and let it fly away, thereby proving he was wiser than the old rabbi.

And so he asked the question: Is the sparrow alive or dead?”

Everyone in the synagogue waited for the old man’s answer. With great compassion, the old rabbi looked at the young man and said, “It is up to you, my friend.”

It’s up to you, my friend.

These words are so important for us to hear. So much of our trouble comes from our falling into wrong ways of thinking, or always putting a negative spin on our situation. We allow ourselves to be ruled by anger, jealousy, the hurts of the past. These things influence our decisions and can turn us into cynical persons.

We have to be reminded that we must deal with the consequences of the decisions that we make in life. Have we been prudent, or have we allowed ourselves to be caught unprepared?

Have we wasted opportunities, or has our anger and frustration over the hurts of our past put us on a path that has lead away from God and what he wants for us?

In the end, it’s up to us. Will we accept the grace that God is offering us? If we have messed up in the past, will we be able to embrace the new “plan” that God has in mind for us, or will we insist on staying stuck in our feelings of “unworthiness” and allow ourselves to drift further away from God’s saving hand?

The Lord wants nothing more than to save us; to accept the opportunity of grace that is being offered to us, not just once but many times in the course of our life. We have to choose. Because in the end we know “it’s up to you, my friend”.

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