By Dot Bowen
So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. Acts 1:23-26 (NIV)
Many people have had counseling sessions where feelings of not being wanted, appreciated or valued have been discussed. The source of these feelings often boils down to something as simple as being the last one picked for a game of dodge ball in elementary school. The feeling of rejection is something I believe we all have to deal with, and any rejection is very hard to get over! I was recently reading the passage in Acts where Jesus told the disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. Jesus had just left for heaven. While they were waiting, Peter addressed the disciples about finding a replacement for Judas. As you may remember, Judas betrayed Jesus, and his regret was such that he ended up committing suicide. In Acts, we are told that the replacement nominees were Barsabbas and Matthias. The requirement for replacing Judas was that the man had to have seen the resurrected Christ. Both Barsabbas and Matthias were good nominees. They each had seen Jesus after His resurrection as well as participated in Jesus’ earthly ministry. So how did the disciples choose? Crazy as it may seem, they cast lots and Matthias was chosen.
As I read this story, I found myself hurting for Barsabbas. Maybe you have never even heard of Barsabbas; if not, that is exactly my point— Barsabbas didn’t get picked! I found myself thinking back on days of wanting to be picked for one thing or another. And what if I had heard my peers pray, “Lord, you know her heart, should we pick her” and then not been the one chosen? I would be in counseling for a lifetime. It’s one thing for my peers not to pick me to be on their team, but if God is part of the deciding factor, I am not sure how that would make me feel if I wasn’t picked! That is what seems to have happened to Barsabbas!
Does Barsabbas’ story bring up a past hurt you have experienced? Have you ever felt that God didn’t want you? Have you ever prayed for something, and God said “no?” Have you ever felt like God chose His team, but He didn’t choose you? Are you looking to find your place in God’s story?
Before you begin to think God likes one person over another, let me remind you that God loves everyone. Jesus gave you a purpose! His purpose for you is to bring glory to your Heavenly Father by living the life He called you to live. This calling will be different for each of us. We all desire to belong and make a difference in the world. But you must remember, life on earth is not about being on a “Christian team,” but about being in Christ. You may try to find your self worth by being a part of something when true self worth comes from being a child of God. It’s not about “doing” but “being.” People or circumstances do not determine your value, and your mistakes do not make you a failure.
As followers of Christ, we can view all things as working together for our good and God’s glory. That’s not to say all things are good. It means that all things work for our good—and more importantly—for God’s glory. No life is a mistake, and no circumstance is out of God’s control. I often remind myself that God created man, and put him in a perfect world. But man decided he wanted to make his own decisions. Instead of God rejecting us, it is more often that we reject what God wants for us.
As a Christ follower, you are on an amazing team called “The Church,” and Jesus will soon gather His team. One day in heaven, you will be able to celebrate all that He has accomplished in and through your life. Jesus has not forgotten you. He is using you! When Jesus died on the cross, He picked His team, and everyone was invited. You have never been rejected by Jesus, but you have been redeemed! Jesus picked you!
Further Reading Acts 1:12-26; Romans 8:28