The last few weeks I have been constantly taken back to the thought of being chosen. We go through many experiences in our lives in which the choice of someone else seems to determine our next steps. As children we wait to be chosen for teams, for awards, for opportunities and for friendships. As we grow older we wait to be chosen for dates, for jobs, for friendships, for enrollment and for responsibilities. As adults we wait to be chosen for marriage, for careers, for service and for even more responsibilities. We have all experienced the joy of being chosen as well as the sting of being passed over. I can vividly remember the joy of being selected for a little league all star team, it meant that I was wanted, that I was valued and just as much it meant that I was better than a certain number of others. It was not just that I was chosen, it was that I was chosen over so many others. Probably even more vivid is the memory of not being chosen as a starter on that same team. As I sat on the bench I was no longer overjoyed to have been chosen for the team, I was stung by the perceived rejection of not being good enough to be a main cog on the team. I was overjoyed for several weeks at the thought of being chosen over, now I was crushed by the reality of being passed over. Thank God that He does not choose like we do. He does not choose one at the expense of another, it does not come down to me or you, He chose to make a way in which we could all be chosen.
In Ephesians 1 Paul writes, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world”. When God chose to create us He also chose to provide for us, to make a way in which we could not only be established but so that we could be redeemed. In His omniscience God knew we would sin and in His omnipotence He made a way for us to be redeemed. We often use the phrase that someone was “chosen for greatness”. God knows the plans that He has for us and just as He told Jeremiah I believe that He has known each of us long before we were ever formed in our mother’s wombs, but I believe there is a better perspective for us to live in. Rather than considering if we have been “chosen for greatness”, what if we lived in the belief that greatness is in being chosen? Rather than spending our lives trying to see if there is a great thing we can do for God or that He created us to accomplish, what if we did nothing more than live our lives with the overflowing joy of being chosen by God? I wonder how many more great things would be accomplished if we were daily overwhelmed at being known, being loved, being chosen by God.
David Livingstone, the famous missionary to Africa in the 1800’s once said, “Forbid that we should ever consider the holding of a commission from the King of Kings a sacrifice, so long as other men esteem the service of an earthly government as an honor.” I believe his point was that being chosen by God could never be a sacrifice, it is forever an honor. Being loved by God could never be a limitation, it is a freedom. Being saved by grace is not merely the beginning, it is an all-encompassing gift that will eternally increase in measure, in reality and in revelation. I am not trying to get God’s attention or win His affection, I have had His attention before time began and I believe it was His affection for each one of us that caused Him to create us in the first place. “God is love”, everything He has ever done has not just been loving, it has been the definition, the reality the embodiment of love. You and I were chosen not because we were the best available or even because we had the ability to accomplish a great task, we were chosen because God loved us, not just loved us, but that He loved to choose us.
I believe that the concept of being chosen is a difficult one for most of us. Again, our experience is with each other. In humanity with being chosen also comes the possibility and reality of rejection. With God there is no rejection. God does not reject man, He has made a way in which, “whosoever believes in Him shall be saved.” Last night as I was sitting in a quiet time of worship with our prayer group I had this thought: God did not come into the orphanage of sinners and choose one, two or even many. He entered the orphanage and made a way in which we could all be adopted. In TV and movies we have seen the dramatization of this process. A couple comes to an orphanage to adopt a child. The children clean themselves up, they are on best behavior, they show their talents and best traits, the reasons that they should be chosen over the others. This is not how God has adopted us, “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world”, all of us. Yes, some will reject Him, many will not believe, will reject His offer of love and refuse His adoption, but remember this He has not rejected us.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been trying to make a fundamental change in my thinking. I am attempting to live in the greatness of being chosen. Each day I want to overflow with the joy of knowing that God made a way for me, that He picked me not for a great accomplishment or task, He chose me with His great love. I am not chosen as someone else is rejected, we all stand equally loved, equally cherished and equally chosen. Others may seem to have more responsibility, more visibility, more tangible authority but no one has more love than I do. No one has been chosen over me and I have not been chosen over any others. We all stand shoulder to shoulder, orphans to sin and adopted by God. I believe that when we shed the burden of being chosen for a task we will embrace the liberty of being chosen as children, dearly loved children, set apart as the sons and the daughters of God. We were all chosen first, there was no second choice and even better no last choice, as many as will come will be chosen, and to me, that is greatness, not what we accomplish but bearing the name, the love and the Spirit of Him who is great and greatly to be praised.