“Red Rover, Red Rover send Sally right over”. Are you too young to know the game Red Rover? Surely, some of you remember this old game. I can remember it from my elementary days. Standing hand-in-hand in a long line waiting to hear the other team yell my name, Red Rover Red Rover send Kathy right over! There were other games we played when the choice of players was one by one. Each team captain chose one player, then the other team captain chose a player. Back and forth it went until all were placed on a team. It was uncomfortable waiting and hoping to be chosen but only to be passed over time and time again. Teams wanted the most athletic, the fastest runners. Choose me, choose me the overweight, slow, non-athletic girl in me cried. This cry from early childhood would stay with me for many years.
It was many years later, that I finally realized and accepted that I had been chosen. From John 15 we read, you did not choose me but I chose you. These words were some that God used to heal hurt places in me. I couldn’t get over it – the God of the universe chose me?? Are you kidding me? How can that be? He chose me, you, all of us for relationship, to be on His team. Just like in Red Rover He calls to each us…..send Sarah right over, send Elaine right over, send Janis right over, send Nick right over, send Peter right over, and on and on and on, He cries out. Amazing love. Hallelujah!
However, there’s more. I have found that in my life I often don’t read past the comma. I like to comfort of certain words of the Bible but don’t often complete the verse. So the entire verse of John 15:16 reads,
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last.
This is Jesus speaking a final word to his disciples. And He’s speaking to us today – his disciples. Yes, He chose us. He has healed us. He has completed us. And now keep reading. “I chose and appointed you to go and bear fruit”. Please read that again to yourself and just ponder it a moment…………………
For so much of my life I have interpreted these words to mean: He chose me, He loves me so I will faithfully attend a bible study and worship every week. I will also teach a bible study for other believers. I will sing in my church choir. I will teach Sunday School. And I did. And I do. And I will continue. All these activities are good, great ways to serve the existing Body of Christ. I need fellowship and bible study but I’ve also got to read past the comma and apply that command to my life today.
I believe His words to His disciples and His words to us are the same. Yes, I chose you AND now appoint you TO GO (into your neighborhood, your city, the world) and find those who do not know me and show them my love. Bear fruit to those who have never heard or seen Me.
How about you? Do you dare read past the comma?