March 11, 2010

The Burden of Being Chosen

Amos 3:1-7

“You only have I chosen … therefore I will punish you for all your sins.”
Amos 3:2


In the movie Fiddler on the Roof we meet Tevye, a dairyman who lives with his wife and five daughters in a small Russian village. Life is difficult for this Jewish family. Throughout the story Tevye talks with God and expresses his disappointment with his lot in life. In one of his conversations with God, Tevye says, “I know, I know. We are your chosen people. But once in a while, can’t you choose someone else?”

Tevye felt the burden of being chosen. Perhaps you have also felt that burden sometimes. Maybe you’re the oldest child, and you think having extra responsibilities is unfair. Or perhaps you have a friend who tends to call only when he or she has a favor to ask. In many situations, being chosen can feel pretty good. But sometimes it’s a burden we would rather not carry.

The New Testament tells us that Jesus “was chosen before the creation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20). The burden he carried was that of our sin. “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One,” the mocking crowd said when Jesus was crucified (Luke 23:35).

They didn’t realize that the Chosen One did not come to save himself. He came to save us. That was his burden, and it relieves us of the greatest burden anyone could ever carry.

Thank you, God, for choosing us to be your children through Jesus, your Chosen One. Help us to share the good news of forgiveness with a world burdened by sin. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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