What if a single question could reveal exactly who you are?
For several years now, my daughter and I have sometimes played a game when I put her to bed at night. We will take turns asking each other “Would You Rather” questions. Most often they are silly, but rarely one of us will pop one met by silence. Two nights ago, my daughter asked such a question.
“Would you rather have an infinite amount of money or be able to instantly teleport anywhere you wish?”
Now think about it. You have the chance to be Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, as well as Bill Gates rich. The Palace of Versailles is your summer cottage. Absolutely anything is yours. The alternative is to have the ability to instantly jump all over the planet. Don’t like Kim Jung Un? You could pop in, tweak his nose, and be gone before anyone can respond. Want to see literally anything on the planet? Right now? Just go!
In one life you build luxurious walls. In the other, no wall could contain you. Two alternate lives. One choice.
So which do you choose? Ask this question to your spouse or significant other. Ask it to your child. Ask it to yourself. The answer will tell you everything.
In fact, this question is not a hypothetical. Jesus actually asked a similar question during a seemingly chance encounter. As Jesus was passing through Judea, a rich young man asked what he needed to do to receive eternal life. As detailed in Mark 10: 21, Jesus responded, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then, come, follow me.” In the next verse, we read, “At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
If this young man had only done what Jesus asked, he would have traveled with the Son of God, with the apostles, witnessing countless miracles first-hand. At some point, like Peter, he may have even stood before crowds, teaching thousands. He might have been deemed an apostle. If he had only taken this path, no wall on earth would have been able to contain him.
But this is not what he chose. He walked away sad. And this is the last we would ever hear of this man. We will never even know his name.
Right after his baptism, Jesus faced this question himself when tempted by Satan in the desert.
“Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’” Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’’”
Matthew 4: 8 - 10
We have also been asked this question. If we wish, we can travel literally anywhere with God at our back. Or we can choose a life of safety with walls. And this is the thing. Nearly all of us do not have the option of extravagant wealth. This world will never be ours anyway. Our choice is the ordinary.
Or something more.