Columnist Bill Crowder wrote in a recent Our Daily Bread devotional that according to the Daily Mirror, a British newspaper, the average person makes an astonishing 773,618 decisions over a lifetime. The Mirror suggests people eventually “regret 143,262 of them.” Crowder commented, “I have no idea how the paper arrived at these numbers, but it’s clear that we face countless decisions throughout our lifetime.”

If the newspaper is correct, the average person eventually regrets about one in five choices. During my 43 years as a pastor, I have spoken to many who had serious regrets about their past decisions and the pain those poor choices brought them and others. The Bible tells stories of many Biblical heroes who regretted their choices:

Jacob eventually came to regret stealing his twin Esau’s birthright and later deceiving his father into blessing him instead of his older brother. (Genesis 25, 27)

Moses disrespected God and was not allowed to enter the promised land. He regretted his rash action but could only view the land God had promised instead of entering it. (Deuteronomy 3:25-27)

King David lusted for Bathsheba and took her to his bed. When she became pregnant, and he could not find a way to shield himself from his responsibility, he had her husband killed; then he married her. When the prophet Nathan confronted David, the king deeply regretted the affair and murder. He confessed his sin to God and was forgiven, though he dealt with the consequences of his actions throughout the rest of his life. (2 Samuel 11-12)

Of course, not all our decisions are wrong; according to the Mirror, people do not regret 80% of their choices. Most married people are grateful they found their spouse and married them. While children disrupt our lives in ways we cannot begin to imagine before our first child is born, few regret becoming a parent.

I shared several stories from the Bible that demonstrate regret. Scripture, however, also tells numerous stories about people who made good decisions and enjoyed God’s blessings. One example is Joshua, who led God’s people after Moses’ died. Joshua challenged the people to join him in passionately following God when he said, “But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15, NLT, my emphasis)

Everyone makes choices; we can choose poorly and suffer the consequences or choose well and enjoy the blessings of a godly life. I hope you will join me in accepting Joshua’s challenge to serve God. A commitment to God is not a choice you will regret.