Scripture: Luke 6:12-26
Key verse: (13) And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles.
Reflection: I’ve read these verses many times. I’m prone to skim over them like I might skim over the long genealogical passages in the Old Testament (“who begat who” ad nauseum). Today the key verse above stopped me in my tracks and I took a second look at the grammar in that verse. Notice the subject is “he,” and we know that this is about Jesus. Notice the verbs that go with that subject, “called” “chose” and “named.” Notice the object of those verbs, “disciples” “twelves” “apostles.”
How often I confuse the subject, the verb and the object in my discipleship. I choose to follow Jesus. I commit my life to him. I decide to live with Jesus as my Lord. Oops! I seem to think that I am the subject of the sentence instead of Jesus. I seem to think that the verbs of my faith are under my own control and decision-making. I treat Jesus like an object.
This realization isn’t just about grammar. It’s at the root of our theological understanding and at the core of our spiritual lives. We are prone to self-centeredness. We tend to think we are in charge of our lives, the “master of our own destiny.” Even in our discipleship we talk about our own choices and our own preferences and our own actions.
I wonder what it might be like to shift our grammar to match the scripture. Instead of “I chose to join this church,” it would be “God called me to this community.” (That might mean I don’t take membership lightly.) Instead of “I decided to follow Christ,” it would be “Christ chose me to belong to him.” (that might mean our loyalty to Christ is a response to his grace to us.) Instead of “I’m not ready to be involved,” it would be “I’m listening for Christ’s call for my ministry here.”
Next time you are tempted to skim over a familiar verse, slow down and read it. God speaks and calls and chooses and names us over and over again.
Prayer: Dear Lord, you sent your Son to be my Lord and my Savior. You claimed me and you called me. You have sent me into the world to do your work. Forgive me when I see myself as the subject of your sentences. Thank you for your grace. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].