But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light… 1 Peter 2:9
Dear Chosen One,
This verse means a lot to many in the church. I know. But, this letter is specific to the chosen ones among you. Yes, chosen; those who Jesus singled out as the few among the many that have been called. Matthew 22:14
If you are the chosen, welcome. I know that this verse is personal to you. To the church leader it reminds you of the uniqueness of your calling and also helps in keeping the congregation feeling loved by God. Letting them know that they are destined to be rulers and have a special place in the heart of God; that the circumstances of their lives belie the true nature of their spirit, and as such they should pay little or no notice to their suffering, pain or shame. To the church member who might be suffering, in pain or going through difficult times, it gives something to hope for or to look towards, beyond the present. To those not suffering or in pain, this verse provides validation for their special-ness in the grand scheme of creation and in the eyes of God. The end result is something akin to a comfort blanket for the church as a whole, creating a sense of security. Isn’t this a blessing?
Of the 12 disciples chosen by Jesus, only John was not crucified, beheaded or killed with the sword; although during his life he was said to have been thrown into boiling oil but survived.
You see, barely a year ago I was very much like you. When I read the bible I was able to see a blessing for me in every verse. And boy, did I claim it! I was pretty sure that whatever a chosen generation, royal priesthood, holy nation or peculiar people meant, I was it. In recent times, however, I have become more of a student of scripture and I realise that a few things concerning ‘the chosen’ have been left untaught. As a result several misconceptions as to what it means to be chosen have now become universally accepted as gospel truth.
The first misconception is that being chosen means you will be blessed, wealthy, highly favoured and people will serve/honour you. That my dear friends, is akin to someone telling you that coconuts are sweet without telling you that before you can get to the sweet parts you must break a hard, bitter and unattractive shell. The result is that some people find themselves gnawing at the hard shell with their teeth, getting hurt and ingesting bark. No one provides them with the tools to actually break the shell and they never fully appreciate or experience what it means to be a ‘royal priesthood, chosen generation etc.’ Like the process of breaking the shell and getting to the flesh of a coconut, becoming the chosen can be a process, a journey. For the Israelites, the first among the chosen, their journey was a humbling desert experience of 40 years, so that they might learn to rely on God. Deuteronomy 8:3 For Joseph, he journeyed through hatred, slavery, servitude and prison before he came into his blessing. He too was chosen.
As far as we know, God has not changed. If indeed he has chosen you for a blessing as we are led to believe, you might do well to expect trials, hard times and periods of extreme difficulty. This is a test of faith in itself which seeks to prepare you for the chosen-ness ahead.
We need to credit God with some intelligence and acknowledge that He would know when tithes and offerings are given out of love and fidelity and when they are not.
The second misconception is that being chosen means you will be blessed, wealthy, highly favoured and people will serve/honour you. Same statement, different principle. Here, I find that I must disappoint you because there are biblical examples where being chosen and blessed does not mean you are chosen and blessed for wealth, increase and many servants. John the Baptist was blessed and chosen to be the forerunner of Jesus; yet he spent his life in the wilderness and ended it beheaded in prison. Mark 6:17-28 Let’s take a look at the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. His ministry and its blessedness was prophesied hundreds of years before his birth. He ended his life of miracles, signs and wonders with a following of about 70 people, no home of his own and a cruel death on the cross. He was chosen. What about the disciples he left behind? In addition to routine imprisonment and torture, it’s recorded that Peter was crucified upside down, Paul beheaded, Matthew beheaded and so on, all for preaching the gospel. Of the 12 disciples chosen by Jesus, only John was not crucified, beheaded or killed with the sword; although during his life he was said to have been thrown into boiling oil but survived. They were all chosen and blessed to be the forerunners of the Christian church. Mary the mother of Jesus was also chosen. In fact she was described by the angel as blessed and highly favoured. Yet the essence of her choosing was to bear the son of God and her blessing was a sword in her soul; seeing her beloved son crucified on a cross. Luke 2:34-35 This, my friends, is not often taught.
Sometimes being chosen, royal or holy means that you are blessed and empowered to ride the storms of poverty, persecution, pain, suffering or may be even death. It is not always a call to riches, wealth and prosperity. Simple.
The third misconception is that being chosen means you will be blessed, wealthy, highly favoured and people will serve/honour you. I know, I know. I seem to be repeating the same sentence. Forgive me but it is important for emphasis sake, so please bear with me. I say this again because people really really think that the purpose of being chosen is to be immensely wealthy. That if they confess it, tithe and sow seed offerings towards it, they will become the chosen and have big houses, fast cars and private jets. Sadly, that is not how it works, as the blessing of God cannot always be obtained by confession or induced with money. God is not a banker who pays you interest on the money you pay into the church. This is not to say that tithes and offerings are not appreciated by God. They are, but we need to credit God with some intelligence and acknowledge that He would know when tithes and offerings are given out of love and fidelity and when they are not.
On the contrary, God is more like an investor. Whatever He gives is meant to serve a purpose and is expected to yield a return. When God chose Abraham and blessed him with that generational blessing we love to appropriate to ourselves, it was because he followed Him into the unknown and instead of taking the best land, he let Lot get the better for the sake of peace. God looked to Abraham’s character and actions and chose him. He said of Abraham that he was a man who would teach his children in the way of God. Genesis 18:19 When He chose Jesus, it was to take the knowledge of and access to God to the entire world. This Jesus did by dying on the cross. When He chose the Israelites it was that they may show forth the glory of God and take the knowledge of Him wherever they went. This they did in times of peace and times of war, in times of slavery and in times of freedom. When He chose Paul the Apostle it was that he may spread the gospel to the gentile world. This Paul did as a free man and in many many prisons. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 Therefore, it goes without saying that when God is looking to make someone a chosen generation, royal priesthood, holy nation or peculiar people, He sees in them something He can use, something that tugs at His heartstrings, something that will yield an investment. The parable of the talents told by Jesus attests to this. Matthew 25:14-30
So you see my brethren, being the chosen is not as straight forward as we have come to see it. It is a whole different kettle of fish. It is not just a fast-tracked ticket to a life of wealth and prosperity. It may be a life in prison or one of persecution, so it’s important that we take this very seriously. I have not written these things to discourage you but as Paul said, I do not wish for you to be ignorant. Instead I wish that you would take a long hard look at yourself and answer these important questions: ‘Am I chosen?’ ‘If yes, what for?’ and ‘Am I living the life and doing the things that I have been chosen for?’
Yours in love…