Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Acts 1:15-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers[a] (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, 16 “Friends,[b] the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17 for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”
Acts 1:20-26 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms,
‘Let his homestead become desolate,
and let there be no one to live in it’;
‘Let another take his position of overseer.’
21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.” 23 So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place[a] in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
In this passage from the New Testament book of Acts, we see a glimpse of the way the early church chose its leadership. It is a little startling to realize that they cast lots to make their choice. Think of it as a coin toss: heads it’s Justus, tails it’s Matthias, and…tails it is. Matthias becomes the twelfth apostle to replace Judas. What was a common practice thought to discern the will of God seems strange to us, doesn’t it?
When I read this passage, what stands out to me is that the early church had two qualified candidates for church leadership and they prayed for guidance, acknowledging to God, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart.” When our Committee on Lay Leadership (our nominating committee in the church) meets to nominate leaders for the church, we pray for God’s guidance. When we open meetings in the church, we pray for guidance in the work of the committee or board. We pray, trusting that God can use our imperfect processes and our work to accomplish what God is calling us to do.
It goes beyond church leadership, though. What if we prayed for guidance, acknowledging that God knows everyone’s heart, when we go about our usual business? What if we prayed in that way when it comes to the decisions we face? I wonder if it would make us more aware of what God calls us to do as followers of Jesus.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster