I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, love the LORD your God, obey Him, and remain faithful to Him. For He is your life…– Deuteronomy 30:19-20a HCSB

Many years ago, people did not have indoor plumbing. Water was not piped to each house as it is today. In order for the citizens of a city to have water, some people became “water carriers.” They would go to the river, fill two buckets with water, hang them on a yoke that they would then carry on their shoulders. They would bring water to your house for a modest fee.

One day, a man named Isaac the Water Carrier was walking past the house of a man of God with two pails of water on his shoulders. The wise man was teaching people in his yard when he saw Isaac and called out, “How are you today, Isaac?”

Isaac responded, “Oh, Pastor! I’m having a hard day. I’m not getting any younger, you know, and carrying these pails of water is hard labor. And people keep building their houses farther and farther from the river, so it’s difficult and time consuming to get to them. I’m not making as much money as I used to. Pray that God would have mercy on me!”

The very next day, Isaac strode by the very same house with his water yoke on his shoulders. The man of God was again teaching and called out, “Isaac! How are you today?”

Isaac called back with a beautiful smile on his face, “Oh Teacher! I certainly can’t complain! Everything’s fine! I’ve learned that there is nothing you can’t get used to. When I was young, this yoke and these buckets of water weighed me down and wore me out. But after all these years of carrying them, I’ve gotten used to it and now they’re light as a feather! I’m glad God has given me a chance to serve my fellow citizens and the good health to be able to keep working into my old age. Isn’t life wonderful?”

After Isaac left, the students listening to the wise man asked him, “Teacher, wasn’t that the same Isaac we saw yesterday? It’s like he’s a different person! Why, yesterday he was bitter and complaining and hardly had the strength to accomplish his job. Today he’s content, happy and filled with strength! What made this remarkable difference?”

The wise man thought a minute and then answered, “The Scriptures teach that ‘A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.’ (Proverbs 17:22) Isaac is a water carrier. That is his calling. That is his lot in life. But he must decide each day, each hour whether or not to be satisfied with his calling. You might think that yesterday he had a bad day and today he had a good day, but that is not actually the case. The river is still where it was, the houses are still where they are, the water yoke weighs the same, and if anything, Isaac is a little older! What’s made the difference is Isaac’s choice to be content or not. There are no good times and bad times; there are only happy times and sad times. And we can choose to be happy or sad.”

Is your job difficult? Why not choose to think of it as challenging? Do many people make demands of your time? Why not choose to think of your position as vital? You cannot choose your circumstances but you can choose what to do with them. Why not choose life?

Make a list of the challenges in your life and beside each one write down both the negative way and the positive way of looking at it. Of the two columns, which characterizes your mindset?