Choose Wisely

Life is all about choices. Every choice has a consequence of one kind or another, either positive or negative. And sometimes the consequence is not apparent for a long time after the choice has been made.

There’s a stunning scene toward the end of the 1989 movie, “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” Both Indiana Jones and a Nazi named Walter Donovan had been in search of the Holy Grail, the legendary chalice Jesus and His disciples used in the Last Supper. Indy wants the Grail so he can save his dying father, but the Nazi selfishly wants the Grail as a fountain of youth to give himself eternal life and an advantage over his enemies.

After passing through an assortment of traps and tests, both men encounter an ancient knight who is guarding the Grail. To their amazement, there isn’t just one chalice on the table before them. The numerous choices include cups of gold, platinum, silver, clay, and wood.

Bewildered by all the choices, Donovan asks the knight which chalice is the Holy Grail. In one of the classic lines in movie history, the knight replies, “You must choose. But choose wisely, for as the true Grail will bring you life, the false Grail will take it from you.”

The Nazis in these movies always make wrong choices, and Donovan was no exception. Attracted to the most glittery and expensive-looking chalice on the table, he smiles and says, “Truly the cup of a king.”

Donovan fills this cup with water and takes a drink, expecting instantaneous eternal life. But to his horror, he instead begins to rapidly age and decompose, leaving nothing but bones, dust, and his metal Nazi pin.

At this point, the wise old knight observes, “He chose…poorly.”

Our hero, Indy, fortunately has more sense than this. Surveying the options before him, he selects a simple wooden cup, concluding that it must be “the cup of a Galilean carpenter.” With much fear, based on the grim consequences to Donovan, Indy drinks from this humble chalice.

“You have chosen wisely,” the knight tells him, much to Indy’s relief.

There’s an old maxim that says, “Not everything that glitters is gold.” In fact, as the Nazi discovered in this movie, some things that glitter are actually fool’s gold.

Years ago, I heard a great Christian song based on Proverbs 8:1-2 (ESV): Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand.”

Every day, we face a crossroads of whether we will choose wisely or choose poorly. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God challenged His people long ago:“Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it’”  (Jeremiah 6:16 NIV).

Today God is offering us rest for our souls, but we must choose wisely. Instead of opting for what seems right in our own eyes, we must “ask for the ancient paths.”  The Holy Grail stands before us, but the table is increasingly cluttered with other options.