Do you remember the first time you were not chosen to be a part of something? Maybe you were picked last to play Red Rover or kickball. Maybe you tried out for a play or a team and did not make the roster. Maybe you fell in love and declared your affection, only to be rejected. Maybe co-workers, friends, and family members left you out of an invitation to an important social event.
Maybe it was worse than that; maybe you didn’t get the job, the promotion, or the house you wanted. Maybe it was something devastating – like a spouse leaving you for someone else.
Whatever the case, you are not alone. We have all felt rejection and loneliness at times.
And even throughout the Bible, we see mighty women and men of God who experienced rejection in life. One of my favorite stories involves King David – well, he was actually just a shepherd boy at this point in his life.
David was evidently so insignificant and unimpressive to his father and all of his seven brothers that when the prophet Samuel came to consecrate and anoint the next king, the little shepherd boy was not even brought in from the fields. Talk about rejection. Even his father did not invite him inside for Samuel’s inspection.
Of course, today, we have the luxury of knowing the rest of the story. We understand that even though David’s earthly father did reject him on that eventful day, the heavenly Father personally picked David to lead his people. And David, whose name literally means beloved, was identified in the Bible as “a man after God’s own heart.”
David was not the only king that suffered earthly rejection.
Even Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, was rejected and despised, so much so that even his countrymen chose a murderer over Him. Remember when they shouted for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus? Rejection doesn’t get much worse than that. I doubt seriously that anyone ever chose a murderer over you.
And people still reject Jesus. They choose to trespass into a place never created for humanity – an eternity in hell – rather than choosing the sacrificial love of Jesus and an eternity in heaven. Now, that is rejection.
Don’t feel too high and mighty though, because we as Christians reject Jesus too, in a million tiny ways every single day. We choose self-gratification over Him; we choose the approval of man over His approval, and we even choose to ignore His still, quiet voice over the millions of loud, self-serving voices around us. Stop and ponder that. Think about it! Think of the unnoticed and unacknowledged ways we constantly choose other things (sinful and selfish things, to be exact) over our Savior. Yes, we self-righteous, haughty Christians reject Him daily.
Yet … here He stands with arms open wide and a heart filled with love. Here He is, waiting for us to choose Him, to pick Him, to pick His purposes and His plans over our own – the very plans that will always, always, always lead us to blessings and hope.
And get this – He already picked us. Even before the foundation of the Earth, we were His choice. He already picked us! He declares that He knew us even before we were formed in our mothers’ wombs. He says we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and His very own. He even says that each of us is the apple of His own eye.
He loved us so much that He gave all He had for us, His only begotten son. In fact, in John 15:16 (KJV), Jesus stated unequivocally, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit. …”
So, forget all the times you didn’t get picked. And quit waiting and looking for the world’s approval. You have already been chosen; God picked you!
There are millions of people out there waiting to find approval, waiting to be loved. Their spirits are crying, “Pick me! Pick me!” They are waiting for Jesus. And Jesus is waiting for you.
He is waiting for you to notice that person in the grocery store, maybe even the grouchy, impatient cashier who needs a little kindness and encouragement or maybe just a smile and a kind word. If you listen closely, He might even direct you to pay for someone else’s groceries or buy something seemingly insignificant to take to someone you have not seen in a while.
And He is waiting for you to meet and greet your neighbors, or perhaps minister to the ones that get under your skin and irritate you most. Have you taken them a small gift or card to introduce yourself? Have you offered your help with an obvious need? Have you taken the time to know their names, their families, their situations?
He might even be waiting for you to simply ask someone to lunch, someone that gets left out on occasion because they can’t afford eating out – or because they just are not in your regular circle of friends. Look for that person, someone who might otherwise get rejected.
Notice people; really notice them. And when you do, when you begin to take time to really listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, you will realize that so many people in so many places are feeling alone, isolated, unwanted, and utterly rejected.
Take the time to look closely. You may discover a hidden treasure, like the shepherd boy David. It could be a mentor, a leader, or even your lifelong best friend, simply waiting to be noticed, to be valued, to be loved – to be chosen.
So, get to picking!