Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Being Picked Last

Have you experienced the ignoble distinction of being picked last?

Oh, it is a horrible feeling.

You were the albatross, the default, the booby-prize. Not quite talented enough, fast enough, tall enough, smart enough, good-looking enough or popular enough to be desired by the rest of the team. You simply did not fit in; you were too different.

“The Ugly Duckling” was never your favorite book and you’ve surmised, “The Little Train That Could (?)” was probably kicked in the caboose all the way up the hill and chased all the way into the ensuing valley. Your Cracker Jacks prize was always broken and when someone told a joke - you were usually the punchline.

Rejection can begin early in life. It is often a result of cultural, physical or lifestyle differences [determined by the masses to be] too peculiar to be normal. However inconsequential the rejection of an individual may appear to a casual observer, it is an indignity that can emotionally scar it’s recipient for life.

Does God’s Word, the Bible, give us any encouragement? Unfortunately, at first glance the Bible appears only to confirm our worst fear:

“... ALL have sinned AND ARE FALLING SHORT of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives ...” - Romans 3:23

FALLING SHORT. Well, that’s just great! Isn’t that what we’ve been feeling? And so we desperately scramble for another verse. Perhaps the Old Testament can give us hope:

“For we have all become as one who is unclean [ceremonially, as a leper], and all our righteousness - OUR BEST DEEDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS and justice - are as filthy rags or a polluted garment. We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away [far from God’s favor, hurrying us to destruction].” - Isaiah 64:6

WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I’ll just assume my position at the back of the line. Why not? I’m used to it; LAST PLACE! Home sweet home.

Ah, but there is One who understands rejection...

Who among us can begin to imagine the rejection experienced by Jesus? We will never comprehend the numerous levels of rejection He willingly accepted. Certainly His rejection was social, physical, emotional and spiritual but it was so much more! Our feeble minds will never begin to grasp the rejection He experienced that encompassed the whole of heaven and earth, of time and space, of all creation past and all creation yet to become; His was total and complete rejection.

Sadly, His rejection has not yet ended. His rejection occurs even today. Faced with the Biblical account of Jesus’ death burial and resurrection, there are those even today who would offer a polite, “no thank you” to His gift of love. And yet, according to the Bible, it’s through His gift of love that we personally experience the redemption and acceptance we so desperately desire.

Read again that verse of condemnation. Notice that it was never intended to leave us in a condition of "having fallen short” of God’s glory:

“... ALL have sinned AND ARE FALLING SHORT of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives. ALL are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus. Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood - the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation- [to be received] through faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He passed over and ignored former sins without punishment. It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus.” - Romans 3:23-26

As the late Paul Harvey might say, “and now you know the rest of the story...”

Chosen last? I’ve got great news:

“Even as [in His love] He chose us - ACTUALLY PICKED US OUT for Himself as His own - in Christ before the foundation of the world; that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.” - Ephesians 1:4

Amazing! According to the Bible, when you experience that saving grace, you can be confident that you were chosen, not last, but before the foundation of the world! And why?

“So that we who first hoped in Christ - who first put our confidence in Him - [have been destined and appointed] to live for the praise of His glory.” - Ephesians 1:12

So take heart friend. You have been chosen by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Today is yet another day to give thanks by living for the praise of His glory!

By the way, since you have been chosen, it’s time to get into the game!

God bless!

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