by Lisa McHeard
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia
1 Peter 1:1 ESV
Why are we so bothered by the word elect, when we spend so much of our actual lives waiting to be elected? We wait to be picked for a team in grade school. We wait for an invitation to the prom. We sit through interview after interview before we get a job and feel incomplete until someone chooses us as a date or mate. From the moment we take our first breath, our hearts cry “pick me”.
Election is woven into the very fabric of our being. God created man to be in fellowship with him. Belonging is such an integral part of who we are that even a hint of rejection slays us. A cursory turn of the magazine rack or a walk down the cosmetic aisle reveals our little secret. We are constantly seeking ways of reshaping ourselves and cave too quickly to the temptation of altering ourselves to be more desirable to others.
It’s a mystery then, given our insatiable hunger for acceptance by others, that when the High King of Heaven chooses us, we struggle because he hasn't chosen the person standing next to us. We dare to think that finally arriving at the place we were meant to be all along is somehow unfair to those who haven’t had the privilege. Rather than breathing a sigh of contentment and settling in, we resist God’s extraordinary attention and question his character. After a lifetime of wanting to feel special to someone, we balk at the idea that we are special to God. This isn’t to say that our status as elected is cause for superiority, or high mindedness. It’s not our own actions or decisions that earned election, but Christ’s perfect obedience and sacrificial love that gives us any hope at all.
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.
Romans 5:6 NLT
The focus of election should never be angst that God didn't choose some of us. It should be unceasing appreciation that he chose any of us, especially when our common response to him is thanklessness, suspicion and rebellion. Instead of spending valuable time questioning God’s choices, we should set about seeking those who may not have heard that they have been chosen as well. Our neighbors and friends would be better served by our recognition that we were picked by God for a purpose. We were scattered by him across the fallow fields of the world, to propagate eternal life. Our election should be a daily reminder that we aren’t just biding our time here. We have work to do.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last..."
John 15:16 ESV
Heavenly Father, I don’t always understand how you do things, and my limited understanding causes me to doubt that you have the salvation of man in hand. I certainly don’t understand why you would elect me and not the person standing next to me, but you tell me in your word that I can trust you. Lord, help me trust you enough to not waste my election. Raise me up out of my fear that you’ve missed someone. Take away every distraction and prideful assumption that keeps me from doing what you have appointed me to do. Lord, I want to bear fruit for you!
Lisa McHeard serves as Women’s Ministry Coordinator for the New York State Presbytery of the PCA. She loves writing and is presently completing a devotional on the Gospel of Mark. Lisa is married to Ken McHeard, senior pastor of Duanesburg Reformed Presbyterian Church, where she serves joyfully at his side.