Saturday, October 18, 2008

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe

"Okay, who wants to be team captains?"
"Ooh, ooh, I will this time!"
"Me too, I'll be the other one!"
"You pick first."
"Okay, I choose Andy. Now you get two picks, go ahead."
"I get. . . Luke and Zach."
"My turn. Let's see. . . I'll take Philip and Becky."

Sound familiar? This could have been a conversation recorded right out of my childhood. I grew up around boys, and we were always "choosing teams." I'm sure you can remember which kid you were . . . whether the one who was always, without fail, picked first. Or one of the kids chosen somewhere in the middle. Or perhaps you were the one who was an afterthought. . . the conversation went, "Are we all done? Let's start the game. . . Oh wait, she (or he) is left. Well I guess you can have her (or him). Now let's go play!" (Growing up, I was never this child, but as a teenager, volleyball has effectively placed me in this role. lol)

A funny thing though, is that I have found this theme of choosing continues throughout teenage life, and I anticipate that it will play a part in my adult life too. We have to pick who we are friends with. . . apply to and get chosen by the "right" college or university. . . decide where to live, what things to buy, who to marry. . . the list goes on. As Christians, we might be tempted to tell people that choosing to follow God was the most important decision we ever made. But I beg to differ. . .

John 15:16-17 states:
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other."

I John 4:10-11
"This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

I Peter 2:9-10
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

How foolish to believe for one second that we chose God! We have nothing, in and of ourselves, which makes us worthy to even consider God and His greatness. The confession, found in the liturgy of a Lutheran service, opens with "I, a poor, miserable sinner. . . " We always laugh when we read it, because it sounds so melodramatic. . . and yet, is it not the truth?

A friend of mine is in a Bible study that is discussing the Holy Spirit. A conversation with him several weeks ago has gotten me thinking more and more about the Holy Spirit and his role in our lives. So last night, I asked Dad, "Would salvation be possible without the Holy Spirit?"With a incredulous expression, he looked at me and said, "Well that's a silly question!" (Were you thinking the same thing?) I was shocked. Dad was educated as a teacher, and he has always been good at making us feel that our thoughts and questions matter. I suppose I understand why he said it though - in a way, it was a not-serious question, more designed to inspire discussion and not a real, honest-to-goodness unknown bit of knowledge. What followed was a brief, but meaningful theological discussion about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It boiled down to what I have already written - we cannot, I repeat, cannot, save ourselves. We can't even muster up the righteousness to choose to follow God! And yet. . . He chose us. He chose you.

Do you remember the feeling you got when the team captain picked you for his team? I must say, that feeling certainly depended on the attitude of the team captain. . .if it was a casual, flippant decision, you felt just awful. But if they deliberately said, "I want you," oh the joy that filled your heart! But think of that one kid who was always picked last. Now, put yourself in his or her shoes. Imagine standing there, waiting expectantly, only to be picked as an afterthought. Sounds awful, doesn't it? Now, pretend you are that kid. . . but this time, the team captain walks right up to you before anyone else, looks into your eyes, and says, "I want you." How would you respond? This is what the Father has done for us. Remember, He chose you. It's the most important decision that has been made in your life, but you didn't make it. So then,

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2

No comments: