Skip to content


October 16, 2017

He has chosen you.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4b)

Think back on the last time you were chosen for a job from a pool of applicants, or to be part of a team, to lead a team, to make a presentation, to perform a special task at work, to join a committee, to lead a group of children in Scouts or a church activity, to perform or otherwise showcase your artistic skills, to prepare a special meal, to spearhead an event, to receive an award, or were accepted by a school to which you applied. It is pretty special to be singled out for a specific purpose. Being chosen is the theme of this week’s Scripture lessons.[1]

About 150 years before Cyrus the Great ruled Persia, Isaiah predicted that Cyrus   would be chosen by God to free the Israelites: “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I will take hold of to subdue the nations before him . . . to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut . . . I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name” (Isaiah 45: 1-3).   God had chosen Cyrus by name, long before his birth for a specific task: to free the Israelites from Babylonian rule and to fund the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. God chose Cyrus for a special purpose before he was even born, and he fulfilled that purpose.

Paul tells us that God has chosen each of us for a special purpose: “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1: 4). You are not studying Scripture by accident. You were guided by the power of the Holy Spirit to his Word. That is what Paul was telling the Christians in Thessalonica who came to hear his message. The gospel had taken hold of their hearts and minds and was transforming them as they came to know Christ more fully and understand what he had done for them. Paul’s words to the Thessalonians are as timely to us today as they were to his first century hearers.

You have been chosen by God for a purpose, and as you live each day, and grow closer to him through your study of the Word and through your conversations with him, that purpose will begin to reveal itself to you–whether you are 19 or 90. God always has something in mind for you. His plan for you on this earth is not fulfilled when you retire from your day job, when your kids leave the nest, or at any other time of your life. When one phase of your life is completed, there is another in store for you. In that respect, life always poses new challenges and adventures. And for that reason, among others, we can be eternally grateful: “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods” (Psalm 96: 4). And never think that God has finished his work with you because of your limited resources, physical or mental limitations. There are many things you can do to serve God no matter your age or circumstances.

Jesus knew that he was The Chosen One—the one to whom God entrusted our salvation. As such, he was well aware of the traps and snares set by those who wished to see him removed from the scene sooner rather than later. Some Pharisees prided themselves on being able to ask “gotcha” questions. One of those situations is recounted by Matthew: “The Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words . . . Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? . . . But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said: ‘you hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.’ They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, ‘Whose image is this? And whose inscription?’   ‘Caesar’s’ they replied. Then he said to them, ‘So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s’” (Matthew 22: 15-22).   Jesus was never deterred from his mission by the small minds that challenged him.

Being chosen for a team or for a job doesn’t mean that you won’t have challenges. In fact, usually the opposite is true. You were chosen for a task because of your specific God-given talents that will enable you to meet those challenges head-on. You’ve been chosen. What does God have in store for you?  It’s not a trick question. God will reveal his plans for you throughout your life as you seek him in his Word, through the people he puts in your path, and as you continue your conversations with him throughout your life. Let the adventure begin in your life and continue until you draw your last breath.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for the Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost are Isaiah 45: 1-7; Psalm 96; 1 Thessalonians 1; Matthew 22: 15-22.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: