Jesus chooses you

And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he named apostles. Luke 6:13

Out of the hundreds of people following him, Jesus chose a limited number to be apostles. These twelve were the intimate ones to whom he would entrust his teachings and his purpose. They were a varied group of people, different in so many ways, yet necessary for the unity of the Kingdom.

Today, Christ chooses you to be his intimate partner in bringing the good news to the world. Your unique personality, skills and gifts are essential to the team! God needs you, he already has plenty of preachers and youth ministers, but you are the only you God’s got. You may think you don’t add much to the party; maybe James, son of Alphaeus, who was never mentioned again by name in the gospels, or Andrew, who stood in the shadow of his impulsive, flamboyant brother, Simon, felt the same way. But Simon would not have met Jesus if not for Andrew. (see John 1) Are you willing to remain anonymous for the sake of the Kingdom? Is it enough to know Jesus chooses you and uses you in quiet, unnoticed ways?

It could be that who you are and what you bring are an obvious benefit to the Kingdom of Christ. Perhaps, you’re a natural born leader, like Simon; or you bring a good mind and education, like Bartholomew (also known as Nathanael, See John 1); or you have wealth and status, like Matthew (aka Levi). These gifts and talents are useful only when they are submitted to Christ’s authority and contained by the power of the Holy Spirit. How many times did Simon put his foot in his mouth before he was transformed into Peter? What gifts/talents/skills are yours that need to be submitted to the authority of Christ? Do you trust the Spirit or your gifts?

Thomas Merton gives good advice about being part of God’s team for the sake of the Kingdom, “Therefore, if I trust in God’s grace I must also show confidence in the natural powers he has given me, not because they are my powers but because they are his gift.”

There will be people on the Kingdom team, with whom you have differing points of view or opinions. How well do you think Simon, known as the Zealot because he wanted to overthrow the oppressive Roman empire, got along with Matthew, the tax collector, who collaborated with Rome and benefited from the oppression it imposed upon the Jews? Maybe all they had in common was they were chosen by Jesus. How willing are you to set aside opposing beliefs for the sake of peace and unity within the Body of Christ?

Begin with the end in mind

In our series of important questions, we’ve considered “Who is God?” Let’s move on to an equally important question: “Who am I?”

We know ourselves by such things as what we do, the way we look, or the relationships we are in. If I were to name a few essential things that describe who I am, the list would include:

  • I am an introvert (edging on recluse)
  • I am playful (enjoy silliness, games, childlike pursuits)
  • I love God (not perfectly, though)
  • I doubt my value (keeps me quiet and invisible)
  • I’m a woman, married, well-educated (and other external identifiers)

You could make your own list and reading it would help me know you better. But are these qualities, characteristics and interests what define you? I’m not the first to realize there is more to who we are than what we do. Thomas Merton, in No Man is an Island says,

We must find our real selves not in the froth stirred up by the impact of our being upon the beings around us, but in our own soul which is the principle of all our acts.

When you ask “Who am I?” you touch the essence of the human experience. The answer to the question reveals the unique you, who was created by God, for God’s delight and God’s intention.

God created you to belong to God, to know yourself as God’s beloved; and from this solid sense of self, to allow your unique personhood to become a means of expressing God’s character and God’s good will toward the entire world.

In Rev. 7 there is a description of the end for which you were made:

‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’ These are they who have come out of the great ordeal. 

The ordeal you face is the lifelong struggle of putting off the old, false self with all it’s sin-based, ego-driven needs and habits and putting on the new self, the one God has named “my beloved and pleasing child.” Emerging victorious from this struggle is accomplished by faithfully clinging to Jesus and being deaf to any voice but God’s. The evil one would clothe you in shame and accusations. God clothes you in a white robe, the robe of acceptance and purity. Hold this truth foremost as you fight the good fight. Because:

For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

As it has been said, begin with the end in mind. Today, you are in God’s presence. Can you feel the shelter of God’s love and power? Right now, let God satisfy your hunger, quench your thirst, and keep you safe. In this very moment, Jesus, your good shepherd, cares for you and takes you to the source of life. At this hour, God knows your pain and sorrow, let God comfort and console you.

Let these truths define who you are.

With you on the journey,

Debby

This is part of a series entitled  The New Old, a look at familiar things God wants to make new. It begins here.