Have you ever been picked last for a sports team?
I remember standing in line, waiting for someone to say my name but never hearing it. When it finally came down to me and one other girl, I knew the captain was going to choose her. And I was right.
I was the very last pick.
On the flip side, I’ve also experienced being the very first pick. I was visiting my best friend’s youth group, and since she had the privilege of being team captain, I had the privilege of hearing my name called right away. I was wanted on her team, and I remember feeling special because even though she had no idea how well I played kickball, she chose me.
I was reminded of both of those experiences recently, and it got me thinking about what it means to be wanted. To be chosen. To have friends who know our names and who choose us not for our talents, but for us.
Isn’t it amazing that God chose to love us before we ever loved Him? The Bible says in Romans 5:8, “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And the book of John says, “We love because He first loved us.” (John 4:19 CSB)
We didn’t need to prove anything or demonstrate to God that we were worthy before He committed the greatest act of love the world will ever know–sacrificing His one and only Son on a hill called Calvary. He knew from the very beginning that we weren’t worthy. But even when we were still His enemies–His rivals–He wanted us to play on His team.
I’ve been studying in the book of Exodus lately, and the teacher I was listening to made an interesting observation about Moses’ insecurity. In chapter two, we find him confronting and even killing an Egyptian because he was mistreating a Hebrew, one of Moses’ people. Moses had the heart to fight for Israel, and was willing to do what it took to get justice for them (even if it wasn’t right for him to do so). But the next day, when he tried to settle a dispute between two Hebrews, his own people mocked him:
“But he said, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Then Moses was afraid and said, ‘Surely the matter has become known!’”(Exodus 2:14 NASB).
He had his authority questioned and wrongs uncovered, so we see him fleeing to the desert in fear.
Forty years later, when God visited him in the burning bush, that experience very well could have been on his mind. He would have remembered how he had failed, how his authority was questioned, and how his own people didn’t want his help. Is it any wonder he was reluctant to go back and be their leader?
In chapter three, he asks God,
“Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”(vs. 11)
God responds to his insecurity with this:
“This is what you shall say to the sons of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ God furthermore said to Moses, “This is what you shall say to the sons of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is the name for all generations to use to call upon Me.’”(vs. 14b-15)
Notice that God doesn’t say, “But you’re Moses! You have really great leadership skills and will be an amazing asset for the team.”
He simply tells him that I AM has sent him, and that is His name forever.
We can learn from this example that it wasn’t Moses who was worthy, but rather the One who chose him.
If you’re feeling inadequate to walk in God’s will for your life, or if you (like Moses) had an experience in the past that didn’t work out so well, you can be reminded that none of that matters. You are adequate because Christ is your adequacy. His mercies are new every morning and He is faithful even when we fail.
He has called us by name, and He wants us on His team.
I would encourage you to listen to the song He Knows My Name by Francesca Battistelli, as that came to mind when I was remembering the above stories. He knows our names–He knows who we are. We aren’t a disappointment to Him because He knew right well what He was getting when He called us to Himself. He chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, and loved us while we were yet sinners.
However, notice that key phrase–in Christ. My pen pal and I recently finished a devotional book together called Found in Him by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. It was a wonderfully thought-provoking book that entirely shifted how I view myself as a Christian. We are not Christians because we are good, or because we know how to play the game, or because we have done anything special whatsoever. We are only Christians–Christianity is only possible–because of Christ. Without Him, none of it would matter at all. We are only worthy because He is.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.1 John 3:1 KJV
The world does not know us because they do not know Him. If we have been born again, then we are not of this world. It is foolishness to those whose eyes have not yet been opened.
So even if humans have picked us last for sports teams–even if we’ve doubted ourselves or been questioned by others–even if we’ve failed in the past–none of that matters because Christ came to set us free and give us a new name. He has given us His name.
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”Acts 4:12 CSB
He wants us on His team. Not because we are us, but because He is God.
If you’re feeling insecure about your calling, or if you need more encouragement to step onto the playing field, I wrote an article about 3 Things to Remember When You’re Afraid to Step out of Your Comfort Zone.
I AM WHO I AM has sent you, so go without fear.
May God bless your obedience today.
In Christ now and always,