The world famous tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, related a story about his upbringing and success. “When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song. He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice. Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers college. On graduating, I asked my father, ‘Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’ ‘Luciano,’ my father replied, ‘if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.’ I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book, or whatever we choose, we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that’s the key. Choose one chair” (Sermon Illustration).
This great advice applies to many aspects of life and, most important of all, to Christianity. As Christ plainly spelled it out, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24). We cannot be servants of sin and of righteousness simultaneously (Romans 6:19-20), nor can we be conformed to the world and to God at the same time (Romans 12:1-2).
As Joshua stated so boldly, we need to “choose whom we will serve.” We need to choose which chair we are going to sit in. We can sit in the chair of Christianity or some other chair. Hopefully we will sit in the same chair as Joshua did and echo his powerful statement, “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).