I had a terrific weekend in Manchester. The sun shone, Man U won and church was fun. I felt special. Old friends slapped me on the back, I found a box of chocolates on my pillow, and food was brought to me at regular intervals. I think I’ll come back again. I also learned something about feeling special.
The Soboyejo family welcomed us to church this morning, and their older son led a prayer. They spoke of a recent holiday abroad. Lo and behold if a family from our congregation in London was not in the same resort. They recognised one another from a father-and-son retreat. As it happens the other family had a timeshare apartment and had “VIP” status on the resort. The Soboyejo family were able to take part in all the sports, leisure facilities, spa treatments and other activities – for free! How grateful they were to their friends. But even more so because it was unexpected.
Their point in sharing this story was to remind us that we are all VIPs as far as God is concerned. We may not deserve it, but that is how God decides to treat us. Peter says we are “God’s special possession” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV11-GK). What does this mean and how can we keep that feeling? Here are three ideas,
- Remember you are chosen. “you are a chosen people” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV11-GK). God makes no mistakes. He don’t make junk. You are loved – even if you do not believe it, feel it, or understand it. Remember, He chose us because it is His desire to do so. Moses reminds the Israelites that it was “Because he loved your ancestors and chose their descendants after them, he brought you out of Egypt by his Presence and his great strength” (Deuteronomy 4:37 NIV11-GK). It had nothing to do with their righteousness, and the same is true for us.
- Remember you are a royal priesthood. “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV11-GK). Not just royal – but a priest. Not just a priest – but royal! There were no legitimate king-priests in the old covenant (perhaps David comes closest), but Jesus is both. We are part of his company and therefore share in his royalty and his priestly function. We carry his majesty for the world to see and make spiritual sacrifices (“in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” Romans 12:1 NIV11-GK). Members of the Royal family do not doubt their identity, and those appointed priests know it is a privileged position.
- Remember you are a holy nation. “a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV11-GK). We are not alone. We are not just VIPs, we are part of a VIN (Very Important Nation). Just like God chose the Israelites, “you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.” (Deuteronomy 14:2 NIV11-GK), He has also chosen the followers of Jesus Christ to be a nation so that we can, together, “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9 NIV11-GK).
Do you feel like a VIP to God? It is a privilege and not deserved, but it is real. The less entitled I feel, the more I enjoy the ride of the Christian life. Just as the Soboyejos did not expect to be treated like VIPs, it comes as a great surprise and an even greater joy to be chosen by God.