Many of us can relate to a moment in time that seemed to define our lives. Sadly, far too many of us have experienced a moment like that which brought us shame before God and our families. It was then that life seemed to boil up to a decision made in just one moment of haste, whereby all of one’s history was then defined by what happened before or after that one reckless moment in time.
A defining moment may creep up on us unawares, or it may be the direct result of calculated patterns of behaviors coming to fruition. But however we find ourselves at the summit of that moment, in the final analysis, the choice taken is a deliberate step that only we have made, that only we have intentionally chosen. And we make it alone, however many others may be standing by taking similar action. We may not be able to clearly understand the why or how of the decision arrived at by us. We may not even be able to fully live again because of the consequences of one rash decision. But in that one moment we change our eternity and, without some help from God, life can never be the same again.
Jesus understood the significance of a defining moment and he gave us a model for how to live out such moments so that they could be seen as acts of grace. For him, one could say that his defining moment was crystallized in the Garden of Gethsemane, or maybe during his interrogation by Pilate, or even maybe as he dragged himself to the cross at Golgotha. Yet these moments, though distressing and stressful while he endured them in his gritty human experience, were lived out in acts of sacrificial love for God, and ultimately led him closer to God.
In an age when hasty moments are more prevalent than measured moments of grace, we need not be lured into insipid words or deeds that mar the beneficent Spirit of God whose constant work within us seeks to make our defining moments ones that honor God and God’s creation. As we become the great cloud of witnesses for future generations, wouldn’t these kinds of defining moments be a better legacy to leave to posterity?