I feel almost everyone has a story about being picked last. Something comes up where teams are necessary, and so two people are designated captains and they go through person after person, choosing who they like or feel would be the strongest competitor until there is only one person remaining. And that person is you.
What rushes over you in that moment is the feeling of being unwanted. Yes, you end up on a team, but not because you were chosen, but by default. The one who picked last must take you to keep the teams even and fair. And if this is something that happens to you over and over and over again, it can really wear down your self-esteem. Thoughts like, “No one wants me. I’m not good enough for anything. They would probably rather not have me on the team.” begins to creep into our minds.
But there is a time when you were chosen, and that was by God. Our passage from this past Sunday tells us this. Before God even created the heavens and the earth, before everything we know came into existence, God chose us. He chose to create us. He chose to place us on His creation to live as His image bearers.
But then we failed Him. Adam and Eve chose the forbidden fruit over God. They chose to try to be like God rather than obeying Him. And it caused this rift between humans and God forever. One action destroyed everything. And even though that happened, God still chose us!
I just can’t wrap my head around how deep God’s love is for us. Ephesians 1:5 tells us: “In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—“ Because of His pleasure and His will he adopted us into His family again through Jesus. How is this a sign of love? Let’s go to Ephesians 1:7: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
Jesus died for our sins. We fail. We make the mistakes. We should face judgment. And yet, God knew this would happen before we were even created. And on top of that, He created us knowing that the only way to get us back would be for His Son to die on the cross. How many of you would be willing to make that type of sacrifice, knowing to start something and it costing you the life of your child, your only child?
That is how God lavishes us with love, grace, and acceptance. We don’t need to feel unwanted because God has wanted us from the very beginning. God wanted us before He even created us, even if it meant suffering to make sure we would be chosen.
But it’s more than that, we need to think about the next step: What should be our response to this? How should we act because we are chosen? We should go what God commanded us to do – go and make new disciples.
I’m going to push and challenge you a little more today. We were not meant to sit on the sidelines. If we sit on the sidelines, we do not fully understand this passage. We do not understand all Jesus has done for us. We have minimized what it means to follow Jesus, because if we truly grasp the grace and the love and the blessing He has poured out on us, how He has lavished us, I wouldn’t have to persuade anyone to go and make disciples. We would be supernaturally compelled.
Having an identity in Christ, being a disciple is not about sitting comfortably on the sidelines. The cost of being comfortable is far greater than the cost of going out into the world. We are in far greater danger of being safe than we are of being reckless for God in the modern church. We do not bow down at the altar of safety because we die to self. We die to sin. And we risk our whole lives for Him. We have found the One to lose and risk everything for.
So find them. Find those that God has placed in your lives and serve them in love and share with them the love of Jesus, so that they can be blessed by the God who has chosen to love them since before the world was made.