Today, more than ever, we have a legion of opportunities before us. We can choose where we work, where we live, what we do for leisure, who we spend time with and how we spend our money. And this rich variety of options only continues to grow with each new day.
But, of course, to make the most of these possibilities we need to keep our options open. We never know if something better might be just around the corner, so we only half-commit to things now in order to stay open to opportunities that may lie ahead. And when we eventually choose an option, we don’t fully enjoy it because we feel a lurking doubt that we made the wrong choice—perhaps the party or dinner date would have been better options than the film? We want to do everything.
This paralysing first-world disease has a name: FoMo – the Fear of Missing out.
Into the mix of our option-saturated lives, Jesus’ words are disturbing: “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” John 12:24. Here, Jesus refers to his own dying, but these words are also relevant for us. A seed can ‘keep its options open’ by never being planted anywhere. But if we want to grow a fruitful tree, we need to plant that seed somewhere very specific.
Having options is wonderful, but at some point we too need to land somewhere very specific. We need to die to other possibilities and commit to remaining where we are planted. We need to die to FoMo.
So … Commit to your husband or wife! Commit to your friends! Be fully present in your workplace and your community! Give yourself to the life God calls you to! There are a whole lot of things you won’t end up doing, but a fruitful tree beats a single seed any day.