Take comfort in knowing we're God's chosen
August 03, 2011 - Remember what it was like?
Two captains were appointed to divide the group into teams. They chose one person after another. You waited in anticipation for your name to be called.
Finally, they chose you! Remember how good that felt? You belonged. You were wanted. You were a part of the group!
Remember, also, what it felt to be left out, what it was like before your name was called.
Do you remember those who remained on the side waiting to be chosen? Remember the hurt and the pain you felt as you saw others chosen before you and, maybe, the glances and the laughter as they seemingly looked at you.
For many those are not fond memories.
We would probably just as soon forget, especially if we were not the most athletic or one of the "chosen" from the class group.
When you were chosen did you ever encourage the team to select one of those less likely to be chosen? Did you see the delight on their face when they, too, were chosen?
God did not choose His people because they were the greatest or the most numerous.
He did not pick them because they were the most athletic or the best looking. God chose them out of His great love for them; they were chosen by grace.
Jesus, in the New Testament, tells us: You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you. (John 15:16, ESV).
He chose you. Out of all the people there have ever been He chose you. You are special in His sight.
He empowered you through the Holy Spirit, given with the waters of baptism, to be one of God's own, special, children.
Jesus also tells us: But many who are first will be last, and the last first (Matthew 19:30).
Those who excel in this world and who push to get ahead, relying on their riches and power, exploiting others and seeming to be great in this world will find heaven difficult to grasp.
Whenever we rely on our own efforts we fall short.
Those who are often despised by others, who are rejected and seen as the dregs of this world but rely on God's grace and Jesus' forgiveness earned on the cross are those who gather at His feet in heaven.
The chosen do not necessarily find life easy. They face many trials in this world. They may suffer and even give their life.
There is great evil around us as we see in the news on a daily basis. Knowing we are chosen, and a better life awaits us in heaven, allows us to endure to His glory—because we ARE chosen.
The Rev. Kendall Schaeffer is pastor of St. Trinity Lutheran Church.