Today’s Bible: Acts 1: 15-17, 20-26 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
15 In those days Peter rose up among the believers[a] (together the crowd numbered about one hundred and twenty people) and said: 16 “Friends,[b] the Holy Scriptures, which the Holy Spirit prophesied through David about Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus, had to be fulfilled – 17 for he was numbered among us, and was assigned his share in this ministry. “
20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms,
‘Let his estate be deserted,
and let no one live in it ‘;
‘Let others take their position of supervisor.’
21 So one of the people who followed us all the time the Lord Jesus came in and out of us, 22 from the baptism of John to the day he was taken from us – one of them must be with us to witness his resurrection. ” 23 So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you chose 25 to take a place[a] in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned to go to his place. ” 26 And he cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and was added to the eleven apostles.
Tim’s pious reflection for today
In this passage from the New Testament book of Acts we see an insight into how the early church chose its leadership. It’s a little startling to realize that they threw a lottery to make their choice. Think of it as tossing a coin: the head is Justus, the tails are Matthias, and the tails are! Matthew becomes the twelfth apostle to replace Judas. What is a common practice for discerning God’s will 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 leadership, acknowledging to God, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart.” When our Lay Leadership Committee (our church appointment committee) meets to appoint church leaders, we pray for God’s leadership. When we open meetings in the church, we pray for guidance in the work of the board or boards. We pray, believing that God can use our imperfect processes and our work to accomplish what God calls us to do.
This, however, goes beyond church leadership. What if we prayed for guidance, acknowledging that God knows everyone’s heart, when we do our usual work? What if we prayed that way when it comes to the decisions we face? I wonder if that would make us more aware of what God is calling us to do as followers of Jesus.