I think from the time we are very young each of us has an innate desire to be chosen. We want someone to pick us for the team or to choose us first for something or some reason. Too many of us recall the embarrassment of being the last one chosen for the game or team. It probably wasn’t meant to be personal, but it felt that way. I know I have memories of the “Red Rover” game in the church parking lot at VBS and teaming up for kick ball at recess on the playground at school. I was never athletic and never a fast runner, so I was never picked first and often last of all.
Those early memories create a fear that we are not good enough. It stalks us throughout our school years. It doesn’t just happen on the playground, but it happens when tryouts occur for the musical or a play. It happens when tryouts for “first chair” in your section of the band are announced. It happens when you go to the first school dance and discover they aren’t doing just “line dancing”.
The truth each of us comes to grips with is that we will be in this spot of wanting to be chosen over and over again throughout our lifetime. It happens as adults when we desire to be part of a particular committee or small group study. It happens when the church choir’s anthem has a solo part to be sung. It happens when job interviews are on the line. It happens when scholarships are being decided. It happens when we want to be considered for a promotion or move up in the company when someone retires or leaves.
Of course, it also happens when we want a particular person to choose us as a lifetime partner and wants us to marry. A nagging fear can creep in that we are not wanted or desired if that doesn’t happen early or perhaps at all.
While I was reading Luke 6 during my devotions a few days ago, I saw it again. It’s the passage where Jesus is choosing His disciples and there in verse 13, we read, “And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles.” The names of the disciples, the 12, that we have come to know so well were chosen. What struck me when I was reading the passage this time was the phrase before those 12 were chosen. It seems clear when He called His disciples there were likely more there than the 12 the verse says He chose. If that is true, what became of them? Did they still follow Him?
We know by reading the gospels that later others were called. At one point we read about 72 being called and sent out. In that case and in the case I have pointed out, these disciples are nameless to us today. What caused Jesus to choose the particular 12 men who became the apostles who tell the stories of His ministry on the earth? I wonder.
Did He choose those 12 because He knew their hearts were open and responsive to Him? Did He know they would follow Him? None of them were scholars. Did He see them as more teachable somehow? We cannot know, but we do know that time and time again scripture points to our hearts as His primary concern. He has no interest in religious acts and traditions that come from what we think we should do. He wants to woo our hearts to Him and as an omnipotent and omniscient God, surely, He would know who would respond.
I was perhaps like some of you, wanting to be chosen and unsure I would be. The BEST news was learning that Jesus chose me. The important question was whether I would choose Him.
To come to the realization that despite every flaw, failing, or false self I had ever been, He really wanted me…blew my mind.
Too often we miss that He chooses us because of who He is and because it is His nature to love and show grace and mercy to us.
After all, our condition doesn’t surprise Him!
He made us!
It is we that must humble ourselves and come to grips with who we are and more importantly, who we are not. Once we do, we need never let the shadows of doubt and fear overtake us.