My son posted last night in hours of insomnia that he was mulling over the “thus far” of his life, and wondering if he had wasted his life, and was speculating how to make a mark in life and be able to die in due time, believing he had done what the Lord would have him do. I can say I have been there, have you? One of my neighbor’s grandchildren expressed to me this morning the issues of her making decisions that would affect her life’s future. She is only about to be nine. She is mulling over her salvation and that she would like to be baptized. I never brought the subject up, nor even hinted at it. She is hearing the Holy Spirit. Each and every time we face this point in life, our emotions may vary, from the extreme of silently invigorating to the other extreme of powerfully debilitating, or anywhere in between. Some will know exactly to what God is calling them, and others will struggle with how to know why the Spirit stirs their soul. Regardless of the circumstances, I am certain of one thing. God doesn’t call us all to be missionaries, in the “go to the ends of the world” sense. Instead, if we are called to serve him, but not chosen to be preacher, teacher or missionary…we still have a place in his great plan if we come with the right attitude.
There are 6 verses that come up in a Bible Gateway search when you type in “called, chosen” in the King James version. I was searching only one particular verse, but was impacted by the six verses that came up. All six speak of exactly this situation in life. I want to share what I saw in each one:
1.When Samuel was seeking the new King, he followed the command of the Spirit to go to Jesse to select this king from among Jesse’s sons. Jesse brought the sons whom he felt would make the best king. However, after going through Jesse’s sons, Jesse’s chosen were not God’s chosen. David, his youngest, was. Seven (the number of completion) of Jesse’s sons were called to pass before Samuel, but only one, the eighth, (number of new beginning) was chosen. And he was the least expected to be God’s chosen. What’s more, David was in the fields keeping sheep one minute and was the King of Israel the same day. God’s call can be a sudden and unexpected new beginning.
Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the LORD chosen this. I Samuel 16:8.
2.Isaiah relates the story of God’s conversation with Jacob, whose name he changed to Israel, and whom he chose in spite of his past and in spite of his fear. It was his servant’s attitude that determined that choice.
But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:8- 10.
3. Matthew retells a story that Jesus told about a man who needed laborers. He hired men in the morning who agreed to work for a penny. Later as he saw they needed help, to get done for the day, he hired more men whom he also paid a penny. He paid the men, the last first. When he got to the first men, they expected to receive greater pay. They, just as we might, believed that if they worked longer, they should receive more pay. The late day workers were actually a gift to the tired men, but they never saw this. The last were chosen exactly the same as the first and agreed to exactly the same pay. Jesus is saying to us, that no matter the time of life we are called to the labor, we are equal to any who serve him for a lifetime. God does not look on the length of service, just that we be willing.
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. Matthew 20:16.
4. Jesus continued on this subject, (Matthew 21,) telling of two sons, one who refused to go when his father said to do something, but later repented and went. The second son said right away that he would go, but never went. And Jesus asked which of the sons the father accepted to have obeyed. In chapter 22 he speaks once again of how God chooses. There was a wedding, and the original guests were deemed unprepared to come. So the father, sent his servants into the “highways and byways” to invite any who would come. Of course this story refers to Israel’s religious community being unprepared to accept Jesus as their Messiah, and but that the Gentiles would respond to God’s call on their hearts. However, among them was one who thought he was fit to come in not dressed in wedding attire. This is not a commentary on what to wear to church, although, to me, it is about respect. This is a commentary that not every person who is among the “Christian community” is actually wearing the blood washed covering, which dresses us to appear before God, sinless. The called must accept the dress. God’s first standard is that we know who is Lord of our life.
For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14
5. Peter describes Christians as “disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious…”(I Peter 4: 2) In this selection, we are all the called to share the mercy of God, all “priests” in the sense that we all have the opportunity to serve by sharing the truths about Jesus. But, here it is revealed that service is in something as simple as being able to praise him for showing us those truths. Peter warns that our actions need to reflect Christ. So we are serving him by our daily walk, as if we were all preachers or missionaries.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. I Peter 2:9.
6. Finally, the last mention of called and chosen appears in Revelation. In this reference, we see that the Lamb is our leader, but also the victor in the war of all times. His gentle lamb-like demeanor should not be under-estimated. The reference says that those who accompany Christ are not only called and chosen, but faithful. God chose David because he would remain faithful. He chose Jacob because he would become faithful. The son who obeyed, repented of his unfaithfulness, and was in the end faithful. The workers in the field were faithful for the time they were called to be faithful. Those who came to the wedding, like David, who were unexpectedly called, came dressed as faithful to the invitation. And we are told that to be faithful to Christ in our daily walk, we need only to be thankful and full of praise, sharing the truth when we have opportunity. Lastly, we are called to remember the power of the one who calls us to be faithful. This gentle lamb is powerful beyond all obstacles and evils.
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Revelation 17:1
No matter what time of life Christ calls us to serve him in some special way, it is clear to me from these verses, that: our age doesn’t matter, our past doesn’t matter, our place doesn’t matter, our status doesn’t matter, our growth doesn’t matter, our abilities don’t matter, being afraid to obey doesn’t matter. What matters is that we truly know our Savoir as Lord and have a desire and attitude to serve both in our daily walk, and in his specific calls. To be truthful to honor his call and not the persuasion of men. Only one scenario bothered me, and it was the one with David being chosen. The background story (I Samuel 15) tells how Saul, who had previously been called and chosen as king, chose to walk in his own way, so he lost his throne. He made excuses that the people wanted the job given to Saul to be done differently than God commanded. Saul was not allowed to continue as king; he was also not allowed to accompany Samuel as a spiritual leader. Being faithful means we have to block out what anyone but God calls us to do. Chasing Christianity under our own steam can lead us to heartbreaking sorrow sometimes. If our hearts are dressed in his holiness, we can be faithful where ever we are. AND, if we turn down his request to serve, but then decide later to obey, he counts that as if we obeyed.
One final note. In several of these stories, many are called and show up, but only one is chosen. This could be frustrating if we fret about not being “the chosen”, until we understand that many run the race but only one “wins.” All, that this means, is the person chosen is perfect for the job. All the others are perfect in ministry which they are placed. I may not win a race, but I can draw the signs, organize the rosters, and provide water at the water stations. When Christ came as the lamb in the last scenario, he came with a host of faithful, in supporting him. It also doesn’t matter what our talent is. We can’t all be king, but the king needs lots of servant minded faithful followers. All God wants is faithful service.
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. I Samuel 16:7
Thank you Lord that I am called only to serve you where and when I am best suited to serve. But when you call, I want to serve faithfully. I confess fear holds me back sometimes, and I have all these reasons listed above, that Satan sometimes uses to convince me I am unable to serve. But Lord, help me to see you as able to take me to whatever battle or call to service, and I can do what I am called to do with power and confidence. I am thankful that you find me capable to be chosen, each and every time you use me. I praise you, Lord. Amen