All of us know what it’s like not to be chosen. From our
childhood days when we’re chosen last or not at all for
school yard games, a sense of inadequacy haunts us for failing to
meet some human standard. Even when we succeed, that nagging
internal voice tells us we aren’t worthy.
Often when challenges confront us, we can remember only
those times we’ve faltered or failed in life. By relying on our
own abilities, we delude ourselves that we’re unable to accomplish
something extraordinary. But God knows better, and waits
to reassure us.
This passage begins with testimony of a servant who seems
to be Israel: ”You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be
glorified,” even while bearing a message from God to Israel (in
verse 6). These verses confront the lie of unworthiness. Stunned
by the knowledge that God has charged him with an urgent
task—calling Israel back into relationship with God—the servant
laments that his earthly experiences haven’t prepared him
for such an exalted charge. Yet, at some point he comes to the
realization that only his identity in God matters, an identity that
provides strength far beyond his human skills.
Today’s passage reminds us that God sees us as spiritual
beings. As such, we live most fully when we anchor ourselves
in God. Who we are in God matters far more than anything we
may achieve on our own. God empowers us with abilities to
face life’s challenges with strength, courage, and confidence.
We are God’s chosen before we realize it! “The Lord called
[us] before [we were] born.” Having been hidden away like a
sharp sword or polished arrow, we step forth to proclaim God’s
glory to the world.
O Holy One, grant me the wisdom to see myself as you see me—chosen. May I anchor myself in you so that my life reflects your glory. Amen.
The theme of God’s calling all believers to a life of ministry runs through all four of this week’s scripture passages. We discover that God’s call always requires a response! The Isaiah passage, one of the Servant Songs that points to Jesus, reminds us that God is the one who pursues and calls. The psalmist exemplifies the call to give witness when God shows up and is found to be faithful. In the opening of his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul reminds us of his own calling and then goes on to emphasize that all are called by God and set apart for ministry. And in John’s Gospel, we receive an example of testifying to God’s presence in our lives and the important calling of bringing others to Jesus.
• Read Isaiah 49:1-7. How has God taken the initiative to work in your life and call you to faith? What mission has God given you?
• Read Psalm 40:1-11. List the ways that God has been faithful to you in showing up and answering your prayers. How have you given witness to God’s faithfulness?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. What gifts has God given you to fulfill your calling to ministry?
• Read John 1:29-42. How might you cultivate the discipline of “mindfulness” in your spiritual life?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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