“Please Choose Someone Else!”


We all remember playing team games as children. Whether in school or in pickup games around the neighborhood, you always wanted to be chosen first by the team captains. Being “chosen” early is something of an honor. No one wanted to be left standing alone as the last pick. What an insult! While being “chosen” was certainly an honor, it did carry with it some pressure. After all, being “chosen” first meant that you were supposed to be the best. Many years ago, a number-one pick of the National Football League didn’t pan out. Now, his name is synonymous with failure. Clearly, being the chosen one has its benefits, but with it comes high expectations.

My wife and I had the pleasure of attending “Fiddler on the Roof” at the local theater this past weekend. It was a wonderful experience. I recommend the play to all. One of the most memorable lines from the play is uttered by Tevia, the patriarch of his Jewish family. In the middle of celebrating the match of his oldest daughter, he is given the bad news of impending danger for the town. In his despair, he looks to heaven and says, “Dear God. Did you have to send me news like that today of all days? I know, I know we are the chosen people. But once in a while, can’t you choose someone else?”

I recall thinking the same thing as a young man about following Jesus Christ.  Sometimes I would think about how hard it was to be a member of His church. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be like many of my friends? They didn’t seem to have the pressure of living up to any moral or ethical code. Deep down, I was grateful, but occasionally I would raise my voice to the heavens as did Tevia, lamenting my “chosen” status. I would venture to say that all of us have felt that way from time to time. On bright sunny days, as we pull our cars out of the driveway and head to church meetings, we spy our neighbors working in the yard, loading up the boat, or heading for a picnic. I don’t think it is too unusual to temporarily lose sight of “being chosen” and do a bit of coveting. While this may not be right, it is completely human. It’s common to feel the pressure of being “chosen”. Even Christ himself, feeling the weight of his “choiceness”, raised his voice to heaven with lament. The scriptures record:

“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:36-39)

Over the centuries, those who have been chosen of Christ have always borne a heavy burden.  All true followers of Christ be they in or out of our church, pay a price for being “chosen”.  Throughout this earthly timeline  I am sure all of the prophets have had moments of reflection and have wondered about the blessings of being the “chosen” one. But we must always keep in mind the admonition of the Savior to the apostles when he said;

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…” (John 15:16). Like the captain of a team, the Lord has reached out and picked us, not the other way around. What an honor it is to be “chosen”. And while the burden might be heavy at times, it is reward enough to hear the words spoken by the Lord to the apostles, but meant for us all; “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends…” (John 15:14-15).

What a wonderful blessing it is to know that the Lord calls his “chosen” ones friends and that He will not let us fail if we follow His commandments. Although “Please choose someone else!” may occasionally cross our minds, let’s remember never to let it settle in our hearts

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