Saturday, May 14, 2011

Not chosen

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Acts 1:12-26

TO CHEW ON: “And they prayed and said, ‘You O Lord who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen….And they cast lots and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” Acts 1:24,26

I’m sure you know what it feels like to be overlooked, the one not chosen. You let your name stand for a committee and the other person is picked. You enter a contest and when you look at the list of winners, your name isn’t there. You let the boss know you're interested in an open position, but he gives it to someone else.

This is what happened to Joseph Barsabas Justus, one of the two men the apostles chose to fill the vacancy on their ‘board’ left by Judas. They cast lots to make the final choice and the lot fell to the other man, Matthias. I wonder how J. B. Justus felt after that – rejected, slighted, discouraged, snubbed by the very God he worshiped? For the belief was that God revealed His will by how the lot fell.

Though the disappointments in our lives come at the hands of others and not as directly from God as it appeared here, our belief that God is in the details of life may make our failure seem just as much a verdict from Him. So how do we handle situations when we’re not chosen? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Look for reasons we were disqualified. We can ask God to show us if there is some lack of qualification or skill, or some attitude or action that would disqualify us. In a passage that talks about physical healing, James says that dealing with our known sins impacts whether or not our prayers will be answered. (James 5:13-16)

2. We can ask ourselves why we feel so disappointed. This helps us uncover our expectations and motivations. Were they self-serving?

3. We can focus on becoming the people that are pleasing to God in the hidden places. These include prayer, living in forgiveness, fasting, and giving (money, charity, time) without fanfare and hope of being rewarded.

4. We can give our lives to God anew, surrendering everything including our confusing expectations and motivations.

We never hear again about Joseph B. Justus. I hope he didn’t scoop his ball and run home in a sulk. I hope he stayed around to serve tables, head the prayer chain or fix widows’ roofs, realizing he was chosen for those things or something else just as important.

PRAYER: Dear God, it’s hard for me not to feel disappointed when I’m not chosen for things on which I’ve set my heart. Help me to learn from these disappointments and to live the life You’ve chosen for me with joyful acceptance. Amen.

MORE: "We Bow Down" - Viola Grafstrom, Kingsway Thankyou Music

(This is a re-post from May 14, 2010.)

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