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You Did Not Choose Me, But I Chose You… John 15:16

As a very old man, John wrote his second very short letter that spoke to me so personally, I taught a seven-week course on it at Hollywood Pres, titled “The Elder to the Elect Lady.”  However, it was at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica that my “election” really came home to me when I visited Bernice.  She was the beautiful older black woman who kept thanking the Holy Spirit for opening God’s Word to her about His telling kind of “love” and “truth.” I fell in love with her from the moment she stepped into my class, and hastened to visit her when illness kept her away.  We had a most joyous reunion at St. John’s, but the icing on the cake came when she walked me back to the elevator.  Actually, she first made “rounds” to introduce me to as many of the medical staff as she could, by proudly announcing, “I want you to meet God’s elect lady.”  To this day I wear that memory as a badge of honor, ignoring the cheap shot delivered with a smirk, “That explains why she was in the Psych Ward.”

What would the cynic think of the Jesus who said, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14; for context begin with verse 1)?  The sobering parable told by our concerned Lord clearly points to humankind’s propensity to put our worldly business first, and His on the backburner.  The “business proposition” of John 15:16 could so invigorate His church and transform the world which God so loved, that many more could go crazy with joy.  “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” 

Beyond a shadow of doubt, as Christ-followers “our citizenship is in heaven,” and takes precedence over all lesser loyalties. But as responsible American citizens riding out the storm of a contentious election, we have both a duty and privilege to manifest the salt and light promoted in the Sermon on the Mount. I’m indebted to Bible translators who have put words in the Apostle Paul’s mouth that have a magnetic effect on me.  Take Philippians 3:20, “But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (RSV).  I really favor the King James Version, because it intrigues and challenges me the most, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour…”

Leave it to Peter to give us bracing parting words that build biblical walls of salvation. “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election.  For if you do these things, you will never stumble” (2 Peter 1:10).  Check “these things” in verses 5-8, “…add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

-Vreni Schiess


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