But you [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9, NKJV
There are some interesting words in that verse…concepts that beckon a deep longing inside me. Chosen. Called. I looked them up in Strong’s, because I’m a writer and that’s what we do.
Chosen: eklektos in the Greek. It literally means ‘picked out.’
Called: kaleō, meaning ‘to invite.’
Makes me think of an elementary school playground. You know, when you’re going to play kick ball and the team captains go through the team selection process. “I pick Joey,” says blue captain. “Okay, I want Sally,” responds the red leader. Why did they pick those two first? Well, Joey has a punting leg and can send that ball to the fence, and Sally never misses a catch in the outfield, so any high floater send her direction is an automatic out. They’re useful to the team.
Peter tells his congregation that they are God’s called out ones, His special team. They’re useful to the Kingdom.
Useful? Me? But I’m just a stay-at-home mom. I live in a lovely middle-of-nowhere town. I don’t have any extraordinary talents. I live an ordinary life. Going back to the kick-ball analogy, I’m average at best, and probably closer to one of the last ones who would have been chosen for the team. How can I possibly be useful to the kingdom of God?
Because He makes me useful. When God chose me, he gave me the Holy Spirit to empower me to be useful. In elementary school, I was always the last one chosen. And I do mean always. I couldn’t kick, run, or catch. I was not only “not useful” to a kickball team, I was a detriment.
Not so on God’s team. Everyone He picks, He empowers. But the pitcher isn’t necessarily empowered to be the catcher, or vice-versa. God uniquely equips His children to work together to create a powerful team called the Church.
I sat in an organization meeting for Awana workers tonight. I’m new at my church, and many of the people in the room were strangers to me. I just listened as they hammered out the logistics, marveling at the logic of God’s team planning. One woman was an amazing problem solver, coming up with creative, workable solutions to sticking points. A man in the room was gifted administratively, offering to take care of all the paper work and point counting. A third person voiced how much she loved the little ones, while another said he couldn’t work anywhere but with the older kids. They were a team… and every one of them was useful.
The Captain had chosen them all.