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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

And my take away is....

Chosen:  the action of selection, often as a means of indicating preference for a specific object chosen.  Most of the time, we go through life making all kinds of choices without much thought - simply because things have become so familiar to us, we just do it by habit.  We reach for the salt or pepper at the table simply because we have done this for years.  We drive a particular path to work without much thought to the winding path, sometimes not even aware of the things we pass by simply because they are so familiar to us because of the sheer frequency of the path we travel.  We gravitate to the same place at the table, in the living room furniture, etc. - it is "our" space.  We have indicated a "preference" for a certain route, spot, or type of activity - it is now our method of conducting our affairs.

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.  (I Peter 2:9-10 MSG)

God views being "chosen" a little differently - not as the routine or "preferred" means of conducting business - but as a means of "electing" those who embrace grace, not so they can sit pretty, but so they can engage with him in the work he has for those he chooses.  We are chosen for a high calling - not just a routine, mundane, run-of-the-mill kind of existence.  Our high calling involves something referred to as a "priestly work" - something most of us would equate to some "office" of the church.  God has a different opinion of the "priestly work" he has called us to - it is not just an office - it is a lifestyle.  The idea conveyed here is one of living as the priests of old did - set apart, vigilant in pursuit of the right choices, and as an example for others.  The priest engaged in certain "duties" such as worship, prayer, teaching, study, etc.  So, our high calling is similar - we are called to pray for each other (even those we don't know), worship together, study to show ourselves approved, and to teach with all boldness.  We make this "priestly" thing kind of mystical - God makes it quite practical!  

Our "high calling" is really a calling to live "out loud".  We are to "live out loud" as it concerns the evidence of grace in our lives.  What is reflected in our lives is far from the mundane - it is the ever dynamic flow of grace.  Is there really any other way to reflect the holiness of God in our sinful lives?  We cannot possibly reflect the holiness of God without the continually flow of grace from within.  As grace does its work within us, we are becoming what we are chosen for - changed lives being used to change lives.  

We become God's instruments - not to just sing a pretty song - but to do his work.  I am listening to a song right now by Josh Wilson called, "See You".  It is basically saying he refuses to sit still while he watches someone else do what he is called to do himself.  Maybe this is a fitting song to reflect the teaching reflected above.  God is not calling us to sit around watching others do the work of their priestly calling - he has called us to do the work he has prepared for us to do ourselves!  You see, there is nothing more powerful than the testimony of one!  The evidence of grace in your life is your unique priestly ministry.  Only you can reflect the grace of God in the unique way you do - it is your calling.  

The work of the Old Testament priests was to conduct their lives as examples for those who were looking to them.  I don't know about you, but it kind of freaks me out a little to think others are actually looking to me to be the example they follow!  We may not even know how many people this may be - but the idea others are actually looking to us as examples should cause us to be a little more concerned with not doing things by "rote" and more concerned in keeping things "lively" as it concerns the flow of grace in our lives.  When grace is free-flowing, there is a living and vital testimony.  When grace gets a little stagnant, our testimony is just as stagnant.  If you ever think grace is just a one time thing - thing again.  It is a constant process.  As such, it ensures a free-flow of that which becomes the "talking points" of our lives.  Talking points are the things which people actually latch onto - the "take away" from the encounter.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all lived in such a way so as to leave others with the "take away" which always pointed others to God's grace?  Just sayin!