You are chosen.
When I was a teenager one of my greatest dreams was to marry Prince William. Every day during lunch at school, I would sneak off into our little chapel and speak to Jesus in the Eucharist, telling Him all the hopes, dreams and fears I had for my life. And at the conclusion of my prayer, I would beg Him: “And please, please let me marry Prince William!”
Since then I’ve learned that I wasn’t the only 13-year-old girl with a dream to marry a prince she had never met before. Why does every girl dream of someone with such power and prestige discovering her, swooping her up, and asking her to be his bride?
Because we all long to be chosen.
Recently I spent two weeks traveling the Holy Land with the brilliant biblical scholar, Jeff Cavins, and 170 other pilgrims. We saw all the sites where Jesus walked and taught, where He was born and where He died.
One day we went to a place off the beaten path where there were very few other pilgrims. We entered the synagogue where Jesus spent endless hours teaching His disciples. And as we sat there, Jeff told us something I will never forget:
During the time of Jesus, all adolescent Jewish boys would study in the Synagogue. The first half of their day they would spend with their fathers, learning their father’s trade (whatever that trade may be). The second half of each day would then be spent studying Scripture with the scribes and elders in the temple.
Periodically the rabbis from the area would come through the Synagogue and observe all the young Jewish boys as they studied. They would notice who were the smartest, the most special or brilliant, who stood out from among the crowd. And if a certain Jewish boy really caught his eye, a rabbi might choose him to be his follower. He might come to that boy and say to him: “Come and follow me.”
To be the disciple of a rabbi was the greatest honor during the time of Jesus. It was what every Jewish boy desired, and what every Jewish parent dreamed of for his or her child. But in order to be a disciple of a rabbi, you had to be chosen. You could only become a follower of one of these great and admired teachers by being asked.
Yet when Jesus chose His disciples, what were they doing? They were fishing, which meant they were doing their fathers’ trade. Therefore, not one disciple of Jesus had been chosen by a rabbi.
Jesus literally chose the unchosen.
So many times we think we have to earn God’s love. We think we have to get it all right, figure things out, be the best, somehow capture God’s attention in order to be chosen, to be blessed, and to be loved. But Jesus shows us that truly, He loves us as we are. He chooses us as we are, where we are.
He is the great Prince of Peace who swoops down from Heaven to Earth to pick each one of us up to be His follower, His favorite, His beloved, His bride. And He doesn’t choose us in our best and most impressive moments. He chooses us in the places we have felt rejected, unloved, unseen and unwanted.
We desire to be chosen because we are. We are the favorite of a Father who loves us. He is calling out to you each day, and calling you even now with those same words:
“Come and follow Me.”