Recently I started woodworking. I needed a hobby and liked working with my hands so I thought it would be a nice fit. So far I’ve gotten pretty good at making branches and boards into round sticks on the lathe, but I have a long way to go to be able to call myself a woodworker.
As I was going through some of the branches a friend donated to me, I noticed something about them. None of them were perfect. They all had crooks in them, they were riddled with little growths and all of them were all dried out with no more life left in them.
Yet these were the branches I chose because each one of them showed promise to be able to be shaped into something much more beautiful. Many would have seen nothing in them past their usefulness in a firepit, but I saw in them potential.
We can only imagine what God must see when He looks down on this world and the people within it. Lots of imperfect people, crooked, riddled with sin aimlessly trying to find usefulness but worthy only of the firepit.
Yet its among people like these that Peter says, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Why would Peter say such a thing to people lost within the curse of sin? Because he was one of them and, despite his shortcomings, he was chosen by God to do amazing things. Peter was like us, a crooked, sinful person, yet he was chosen to become something much more beautiful. It took some shaping and some trimming, but God was able to give him a greater purpose.
When Jesus was speaking to His disciples He was also speaking to us when He said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you” (John 15:16).
Despite our imperfections, God has chosen us to do great things in His name. He reminds us in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; and before you were born I consecrated you.” Just as He chose Jeremiah to become a prophet, He has chosen you according to the gifts He has given you.
In the world people often ignore those who don’t hold up to a certain standard that they might have in mind. Some are too short, others too tall. Some don’t match the world’s standard for beauty and others get lost in vanity. Each one of us are imperfect creatures marred with flaws that condemn us but, in God’s eyes, we are His perfect creations redeemed by the blood of His only Son.
God often chose people who had imperfections in the eyes of the worldly. Moses had a speech impediment, yet he was chosen to go to Pharoah and save God’s people from bondage. David was the least among His brothers, yet God chose him to form a mighty kingdom. Jeremiah was too young, Matthew was a tax-collector, Paul was a persecutor of Christians, yet all were chosen by God to do His work.
God doesn’t choose people who are perfect, He chooses people who are willing. To those who answer His calling He says, “You are a people holy to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 14:2). We are now those people. We are the new Israelites. Just as then, God has chosen us to further His kingdom and He looks to the willing, not the perfect.
Matthew 22:14 tells us, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” What separates the called from the chosen are those who are willing to walk hand-in-hand with God. The willing are those who accept His challenge to go the extra mile. The willing are those who see themselves as servants and not over-lords. The willing put the work of God before all other things in their lives.
Are you willing? God has called you to greater things but He only choses those who will answer the call. He has chosen you to do amazing things, things you might never have imagined you could do. How are you going to respond? Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for choosing us to be Your people and help us to live up to Your family name. Lead us to a true faith that is willing to do what must be done to further Your kingdom here on earth. Amen.