Don Griffith stood before an audience of Fresno Pacific University students—many in their first weeks of college—and remembered the decision of a lifetime he faced while in their shoes.
“Choose who you will serve,” he said.
That’s choose in the biblical sense—literally. As in Joshua 24:15.
“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (New American Standard)
In his Fall Convocation address September 5, 2018, in the Special Events Center on the main FPU campus, Griffith, now vice president of advancement of FPU and executive director of the university foundation, recalled his final semester of college. Unsure what to do next, he sought wisdom from friends, family, pastors and professors. This reasonable course of action, unfortunately, elicited too many answers.
So one Friday Griffith tried God. “I said, ‘I’m not talking to anybody again about what I should do,’” he said. “’I’m asking you tonight.’”
The next day Griffith got a letter asking him to join Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru). “As I walked back down the driveway from the mailbox, I was weeping,” he said.
But he hesitated. “I thought I could do better, so I put the letter away,” he said.
The letter grew on Griffith’s mind while he worked on the farm that summer, and he applied to join Campus Crusade. One Saturday in the fall he got a letter of acceptance. Still he was not convinced.
That next morning his pastor read Joshua 24:15 in the Sunday worship service. “God’s Holy Spirit ambushed me,” Griffith said. God was calling him to decide that morning. In the 40 years since his answer, Griffith has been in ministry, Christian financial services and fundraising, an entrepreneur and chair of the FPU Board of Trustees. “I have never, ever regretted it,” he said.
Griffith said God called him then, and is calling on students today, as Joshua called the Israelites. Today’s gods beyond the river are the broken ways of the past, according to Griffith, and the gods of the Amorites are the idols of materialism and consumerism that surround us today.
Following the living God may be a step away from comfort and security, but it’s the best decision. “Every great human achievement is an adventure into the unknown,” Griffith said. “So we have a choice to make.”