A blog about everything about teaching the Bible. "And still I will show you a more excellent way..." (1 Corinthians 12:31).

Monday, March 18, 2013

Losing Like a Christian

I always pause to think about Joseph Barsabas Justus when reading Acts 1. It was prophesied someone had to take Judas' place as the Twelfth apostle, and his name was put forth alongside Matthias. The chapter closes with the words, "And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles." 

I hate to say it, but I feel closer to Joseph than Matthias. I was a late bloomer (not 5' tall until 10th grade and I wore "husky" jeans... yeah). I had my share of being last or almost last picked for dodgeball. I had a couple of self-esteem-crushing-embarrassments in elementary school that still hurt to think about. And so, on... this isn't about self-pity, but just to say, I can identify with the losers out there. I identify with Joseph. 

It wasn't as though I had nothing going for me as a kid. I've been labelled "talented" and "gifted," for what those things are worth, as long as I can remember. I did eventually grow in strength and to a modest height. Joseph was obviously talented too. Of all the men among the disciples who weren't already apostles, he was one of the two best. But, he wasn't "best" enough. God didn't choose him--he chose Matthias. 

I hurt for Joseph when I read Acts 1. I've been "rejected" when seeking ministry positions I really wanted, and started comparing myself to the one chosen, sometimes able to say, "yeah, I get it," and at other times thinking, "you've got to be kidding me!" It wouldn't have been an issue if Joseph's name hadn't been put forth, but it was put forth, and he was rejected. He never enters the narrative again to my knowledge. How did he deal with that?

I don't know how he dealt with it. The text just doesn't say. But, considering he was of the kind of faith and character the disciples considered apostolic, I have to assume he handled it ok. I recently witnessed a brother handle crushing rejection with as much unselfishness, love and grace as I've ever seen, and I admire him dearly for it--as much as I admire Joseph. Can you relate?

To quote a less than godly source, "You can't always get what you want." Opportunities are always limited, and there's always someone better. Sometimes the people who ought to evaluate you God's way, instead use worldly standards. It happens. You lose sometimes. It's just the way things are this side of eternity. But, we have the hope in Christ that his assessment of our merits on Judgment day will be truly fair and accurate, and, as obedient believers, our places in heaven will be exactly where and what they ought to be (Luke 19:16-26). So, if you have to lose, trust God that he has your destiny under control, and lose like a Christian!

2 comments:

Fortune said...

This is great and I know its Godly. People at times use wordly standards, wrong perceptions to create room for the rejection of another. But God knows the best answer to every question and He is the best hand to assess our conduct, performances, and our usefulness.
Thanks Brother JP.

Betty Eskew said...

I really like this. I enjoy your writing and message. Betty