You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. (Ex. 19:6)

I remember it well, though it was long ago. Current members of the high school honor society scattered through the auditorium to tap new members on the shoulder, leading them to the stage for their induction. It was hard to look cool with butterflies in my stomach, but the thrill of being tapped made me forget all that. I had been chosen!

From kickball games at recess to Nobel Prize ceremonies, most everyone would agree: it’s good to be chosen. It’s an honor, a privilege, and—let’s face it—an ego boost.

But consider another scenario: Imagine a military commander tapping soldiers for a mission, a dangerous one but well worth the risk. That task force is chosen, too, but not for status and prestige. It’s chosen for service and sacrifice.

Encamped around Mount Sinai on their way to the promised land, Israel was reminded by God that they were his chosen people. Tragically, they misunderstood. They thought he was placing them on a pedestal, when really he was recruiting a task force to reach a lost world.

Peter quoted this same reference to a kingdom of priests and a holy nation in his first epistle (see 1 Pet. 2:9), even adding the phrase “a chosen people,” but applied it to the church. All believers are God’s chosen people. The question is, how do we understand that?

Don’t settle for a pedestal when you can have a towel and basin.

Bob Black is professor emeritus of religion at Southern Wesleyan University, where he served for thirty-two years. Along with Keith Drury, he co-authored the denominational history, The Story of The Wesleyan Church.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.