Most people like to be chosen. Whether it’s for a team in grade school, a dance in high school, a job, an award, a date, it makes us feel good to be seen and selected, as long as the attention is positive. But being chosen is passive – we can’t ensure we’ll be picked, as hard as we might try to be the best candidate.
That makes some people more comfortable being the chooser. Choosing puts us in control. Freedom of choice is a huge value in American life. (So don’t say “we only serve Pepsi” when I want a Diet Coke!) We champion the right to choose our jobs, spouses, healthcare and reproduction, even gender. Freedom to choose is a core value for all human life and interaction.
Jesus’ disciples thought they chose to follow him. He didn’t compel them – he came along and said, “Follow me.” They made that choice, often at great cost to their families. So imagine their surprise to hear Jesus say that’s not the way it happened:
“You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.”
Did Jesus really choose this motley crew of hard-headed, occasionally thick-headed men and women? Maybe Jesus has different criteria for leadership than we do. Maybe this mixed up group was just exactly who he wanted to graduate as his first team of apostles. And maybe he has chosen us for the same reason, because he believes that we too are gifted and lovable, capable of bearing fruit, abundant fruit that will endure.
Do you feel chosen by God to be a follower of Jesus Christ? Or did it feel like something you chose, or someone else chose for you? There has to be an element of response on our part; we’re not puppets. Often it is the realization of being chosen that elicits a response in us. That’s how it works when two people are courting. And this relationship with Jesus is more love story than hiring process.
How do you respond to being chosen by God? Does it affect the way you live your faith?
How does knowing God’s desire for us is fruitfulness affect the way you live your faith?
The fruitfulness and the chosen-ness go together. We cannot make ourselves fruitful any more than we can get ourselves chosen. When we let in the mystery of how precious we are to God, the wonder that God would choose us to participate in God’s great mission of reclaiming, restoring and renewing all of creation to wholeness in Christ – that knowledge of our chosen-ness generates a desire in us to bear fruit in that mission, the fruit of lives transformed and hearts opened.
Our hearts become opened by the awareness of Love, and then we bear the fruit of Love into the lives around us, as God's transforming power works through us. That's what Jesus promised. That is how we see fruit that will last.