I played multiple sports when I was a kid, and I didn’t have to look at the scoreboard to know if my team was winning.   When we had a substantial lead, the coach would finally let me play.

Yep, my version of a sports injury was a splinter in my rear from the bench.

Then there were the pickup games in the neighborhood when the two most athletic guys would serve as captains, stand before the rabble, and choose players for their teams. 

When the chosen were chosen, I was often still left standing unclaimed.  I hung my head as the captains fought over who would be forced to take me. 

That was me – last to play – last to be chosen.

I guess that’s why I am thrilled to read words like this from 2 Thessalonians 2:13, “But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”  NET Bible ®

The Apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit whispered several encouraging things to me and to you through this verse. 

– First: that we are loved by the Lord. 

In the little leagues there were most certainly players who were loved by the coach and by the throngs of parents who watched.  They hit the homeruns and scored the three pointers.  They made the big plays and were celebrated whereas I was barely tolerated.

But this passage tells me that that you and me – we are the ones who are loved.  The Greek word is based on the word “agape”, which is that exquisite love that is consistently attributed to God – a love not based on our performance or any return we might offer – but purely on God’s gracious initiative.

I am thinking that If God had been my baseball coach, he would have used me as a starter and would have endowed me with the skill I needed to get the job done.  

– Second: It tells me that we have been chosen.

God considered me, in spite of my inabilities and inadequacies. He said, “I have surveyed my vast options, and I choose you.” 

There were those rare occasions when a team captain would call out his choice, “I’ll take Johnson.”  I would stifle a surprised smile and then proudly walk over to his camp and stand with him while the rest of the team was assembled.  What a joy it was to have been chosen.

And yet the truth that God has chosen us is incomparable.  He has chosen us to be His own; chosen us to bear the eternal truth of salvation to the community; chosen us as citizens of heaven.   

And I smile a broad unstifled smile as I join Him.

– Third: God chose us from the beginning. 

The beginning of what?  Ephesians 1:4 put it this way, “He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.”  Before time began, we were chosen to be His.  That is incredible – unthinkable. 

That’s like choosing up a team before the game of baseball or basketball was ever imagined. 

We were not the dregs of the sports world, last to be chosen when teams were being formed – but first – first to be selected.   

I am much older now and sadly I have not advanced much with my athletic skills.  I sometimes throw the football with my grandkids, and they get double the exercise as they chase my poorly aimed passes. 

Nope – athletics do not fill my emotional tank.  But knowing that God, out of His rich love for me, chose me from before the beginning of creation to be on his team.  Well – that is priceless.

A PRAYER: Thank you Lord, for not leaving us on the sidelines.  

This has been Jim Johnson with pickleheavenpress.com

Many the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 

Scripture references are from the NET Bible ®