Two students stand at the front of the classroom and the teacher announces, “Here are your captains and they will choose their teams.” The first captain wastes no time, looks right at you, and calls out your name. You get picked before anyone else in the class and it feels great.

David remembered the honor of being chosen when God, through Samuel, picked him to be the next King of Israel, 1 Samuel 16:1-13. Samuel anointed his head signifying that selection. Years later, David reiterates the experience at the great banquet of the great shepherd.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5

Normally people get picked or “anointed” because of a special talent, a gift, or an ability. All believers are gifted by God for church service, the ministry of love and reconciliation to Christ. The work of the church is an important part of what they are picked for, but that isn’t why they get picked. David had no idea he was suited to be king. Similarly, a person might not have any awareness of gifts or abilities when selected by Christ. We are picked for relationship and connection. We are picked for love.

My buddy tells the story of leaving So-Cal for Nor-Cal to visit family for Christmas. He and his wife would pack up the car the night before. Then they would get up real early in the morning before the sun came up, stuff the sleeping kids in van and get several peaceful, quiet hours on the road to start their trip. One year when their youngest was about three years old, he woke up a few hours into the drive and said, “Where is my blanket?” This little guy loved his blanket and carried it with him everywhere. It was torn, fraying and stained all over. My buddy says it wasn’t worth 50 cents, but at that moment, thinking of how distraught their son would be for the rest of the ride (the rest of the week long vacation) without it, he and his wife would have paid $500 if they could have magically made that blanket appear in the car. Their son’s love made that blanket precious to their family.

Jesus’ love makes us precious. We are valuable because of who loves us. When the enemy contrives to make you feel like the last kid picked in class, imagine instead, the truth of God looking right at you first, or according to Ephesians 1:4 “before the creation of the world” and saying, “I pick you!”

By John Riley
Junior High Pastor

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