Points to Ponder week of 1/23

Being picked last or losing out on being in a position we wanted to be in can be disappointing. I remember once when I was at Elim Bible Institute there was an election for senior class president. I did not have much of a personal desire to be president but a professor of mine shared with me that they had a dream in which I was the senior class president, and they felt I should pray about it and run because they thought I was well suited for that leadership position. I figured I would try it out and had my hopes up with what seemed like a prophetic word supporting me. Another man ran against me; he was a godly man and a friend but it seemed like there was a pretty good chance I would win based on our friendships and connections in the class. The day came for the vote and our 15 classmates voted the final tally came in and he won 8 votes to 7. I was surprised and wondered why God hadn’t chosen me to lead our class. But as the year continued I found that there were a lot of things God wanted to work in me and through me that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I had been occupied with student government.

There was another man in our text this week that could have felt the same way. Peter suggests that the apostles select another man who had been with them from Jesus' baptism to His ascension and who could bear witness to Jesus along with the eleven. They present two men, Joseph, aka Barsabbas, aka Justus, and also Matthias. When the lots were drawn, Matthias was selected to join the Twelve and Joseph/Barsabbas/Justus was once again part of the 120. This could have been devastating for Joseph. He had not been selected into the Twelve by Jesus, but had stayed faithful and then, once again, he was overlooked and denied entry to the Twelve.

So what does Joseph do with this? Well, we can’t be sure because the New Testament does not give us any more information about him, or Matthias, after this instance, but we know the number of followers stayed at 120 strong through the day of Pentecost, and that every one of those believers received the Holy Spirit and power, glorifying God and sharing His Gospel regardless of their title.

So the question is this: Have you ever held back because you didn’t have a position? Have you ever felt like you’ve been overlooked? The encouragement from Barnabas’ life is that there are no classes of Christians, only different callings and responsibilities. As Peter reminds us, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2:9).

So the question to ponder is, what role is Jesus calling you to play in His Kingdom? Who is He calling you to invest in and disciple? How is He calling you to encourage other believers or uniquely demonstrate His character and glory? Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking that because you may be one of the 120 and not one of the 12, God isn’t going to use you. Instead, ask Jesus to show you what His purpose for you is in His kingdom and in your world. The goal, after all, is not recognition but faithfulness, all for His glory and not ours.
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1 Comment

Robert C Lightburn - February 14th, 2023 at 7:32pm

Very much appreciate the Pastor's message about how we have a natural tendency to look at circumstances too often just in one way.

In the examples given, people often have a tendency to say "well one person was just lucky" or "the other person was unlucky"... Or maybe they might say "it was just fate" and some would even "call it chance"...

However your insight Josh makes a strong case for the true world of The Lord. For has not our Creator brought everything that IS into existence?

So to me this speaks boldly to the case as the book of Esther does... Esther is the only book in the Bible that doesn't make direct reference to God. Yet who could read this story and not plainly recognize God's presence.

All that the Creator has made surrounds us, providing us with Providence... If we have the humility to be open to what the Spirit has in store for us when we are not overcome with our own desires, usually born of fear.

Josh is sure that he clearly experienced God's grace with time lending insight to how the vote taken allowed him to grow in ways he could not have otherwise...

True the scriptures and other writings don't give us any indication of what actually became of Mathias or Joseph specifically. However they do tell us, as noted, the disciples and 120 remain strong through Pentecost 👍🏼 the scriptures do give us reason to believe they each have the opportunity to grow with God's Spirit.

Esther shows us God's Spirit, when embraced in humility, allows us all to be people that can grow. Led by God's Spirit we can find ourselves in just such a place as we are needed most.

Thank you for your inspirational and insightful words 🙏🏻