When Joshua challenges the people of Israel to “choose this day whom you will serve,” he makes it clear that there is no choice about whether to serve, only whom to serve. The word “serve” includes the meanings of loyalty, obedience, and worship. We may not remain loyal or obedient to one person or cause over the long-term, but everyone serves someone or something, whether the true God or one of our own imagining, or some ideal or goal to which we devote our time and resources.
Parents always hope that their children will continue in the religious tradition in which they were raised. (Even parents who think it best to raise children apart from organized religion, and let them choose for themselves as adults, probably hope their children will adopt the same “broadmindedness” in regards to faith.) But while rituals may be continued as a matter of habit, genuine faith is only passed on when one generation declares to the next what God has done for them, both in the recent past and throughout the long history of God’s people.
This passage has fueled much speculation among some Christians as to the timing and nature of Christ’s return. Paul’s focus, however, is on hope. For the Christian, death is not the end of the story. Whether we die before Christ’s return, or if He comes during our lifetime, our future is with Him.