revdrwalter-t-richardson.jpgNow therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. — Joshua 24:14-15 KJV

Unsurprisingly, the Miami Dolphins win on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders has generated some very healthy discussion this week. I confess I am a part of some of the discussion because I made a decision when I moved back to Miami in 1977 to be faithful to the home teams of Miami.

I am loyal to the Miami Dolphins, the Miami Marlins, the Miami Heat, the Florida Panthers and the University of Miami

So when I used social media on Sunday to proclaim my excitement about the Dolphins’ win, several locals indicated they did not support my team! But I will not, lose or win, alter my allegiance to my home teams.

Well, the question of allegiance is also raised about our faith. One should, first, have faith in God and then maintain that faith. That should not be a difficult decision but, for many, the decision to be consistently faithful is challenging. But being faithful to God is a right decision.


But why is it that right decisions are more difficult to make than wrong ones?
Someone has accurately observed that the path of least resistance is what makes people and rivers crooked. Some right decisions don’t bring

Some of the decisions that we make in life are not that earth-shattering. History will see little difference in the foods you chose to eat for breakfast but there are choices in life that are important, even life-altering. These are choices made by every human being. And we have to live with the consequences. 

The choice to not get an annual physical examination can be detrimental. The choice to not get regular servicing for a vehicle could prove to be more costly when repairs are ultimately needed. The choice to not get a post-secondary education can limit the amount of professional success one can experience.

And the decision to not be faithful to God has eternal consequences and implications.

Joshua, in the scriptural text quoted at the beginning of this column, begins by rehearsing for the people of God all that the Lord had done for them.

Beginning in verse 3, speaking on the behalf of God, Joshua, 17 times, in rapid-fire succession, shouts aloud for the Lord, “… I took your father Abraham from the other side of the River, led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and (I) multiplied his descendants and (I) gave him Isaac.

(4) To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau….. (5) I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to what I did among them. Afterward I brought you out…… (8) And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, who dwelt on the other side of the Jordan, and they fought with you.

But I gave them into your hand, that you might possess their land, and I destroyed them from before you…. (13) I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.”

Joshua presents all the arguments why the people of God ought to be faithful to the Lord. He is asking them to examine the facts and then decide.


William Arthur Ward, celebrated author of Fountains of Faith, said, about decisions, that there are four steps to achievement: Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.

I pray that all of us will include the Lord as a priority in our plans, that we will pray, proceed, and pursue Him and remain faithful to the Him.

The Rev. Dr. Walter T. Richardson is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church in South Miami-Dade County and chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board. He may be contacted at Website: