Acts 1:24-26 -And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
As I have been pondering before the Lord which way should I go in this new year I have been reading through the New Testament. And as I was reading, this passage leaped out to me, and I knew that I wanted to share my thoughts regarding it.
The apostles and followers of Christ are in the Upper Room waiting to receive the Promise of the Father, which is the Holy Spirit. While they are there waiting, Peter is reminded that there is some unfinished business needing their attention. As a matter of fact, he reminds everyone that the office Judas held is in need of another person to take his place.
Two men were chosen, Barsabas and Matthias. Then they cast lots to see which would fill the position, and Matthias was chosen. He would be the twelfth apostle as the church entered into the Church Age.
The thing that struck me is that Matthias was never mentioned before this time or after this time, but he was one of the twelve apostles. So why do we even care?
When the apostles were looking to replace Judas, they had some qualifications that had to be filled. First, the man needed to have been a disciple of Jesus the entire time the Lord had been with them, from Jesus’ baptism all the way to His ascension. And then, he had to be a witness to the Resurrection. Now, although these are simple qualifications, they say a lot about both of these men.
You would have to go back and read the account in the gospels, but what Peter is actually saying is a mouthful. This person replacing Jesus had to have a record of longevity. He had to have seen Jesus baptized, he had to have seen the many miracles, he had to have heard the teachings, and been there through the good times and the bad. This man had to know firsthand of the betrayal of Judas, of the crucifixion and the resurrection. This man had to have seen Jesus ascend. This speaks of a man that was faithfully serving the Lord! No title, no known position, no recognition, but he was faithfully serving the Lord. His dedication to Jesus, and his unwavering faith in Him was as sound as that of the twelve. But he wasn’t one of them at that time.
But one day, as he continued to serve the Lord by obeying His command to wait in Jerusalem until they received power from on high, God spoke to Peter about the need for a new apostle to take Matthias’ place. And he was where he was supposed to be, (with the 120 in the upper room), doing what he had always done, and God promoted him from obscurity to the apostleship. Now you may be saying, but he isn’t known! Do we really know what all of the apostles did after Pentecost? (Maybe that will be in future posts!) But we can infer that he went on to be a pillar of the Church, a teacher of sound doctrine, and one who operated in miracles, as did all of the apostles.
Now, what point am I trying to make here? Matthias is unknown to us, but not to the Father! We have no written record of his exploits, his dreams, his family, or even his death; everything about him is speculation. But when God needed another to take the place of Judas, He chose Matthias!
All of us are called to faithfully serve the Lord! And we are to do it, with a heart to please Him, and no one else. Most of us will serve in obscurity, (meaning we won’t be discovered or become well-known), but that should not be our goal anyway. Our focus should be on living a life that is well pleasing to the Lord! But when we see the people around us excelling in one thing or another, we often wonder, “what about me, Lord?” I know I have! But we are to still serve the Lord faithfully! No one may recognize all we do and it may seem as if no one cares about it, but God does! He is watching and He will not forget!
Another reason for faithful service is that in do so, we keep ourselves in a position for promotion. I remember hearing Oprah Winfrey speak of her “sudden” thrust to fame: “Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity!” Some must have called her lucky, but she was letting it be known that she had prepared in advance for the opportunity that came. That is what Matthias did and that is what we must do. We must view every act of service to the Lord as preparation for what He has for us, and one day He will bring opportunity/promotion in our lives. Faithfulness is the key!
So the next time your mind or your feelings try to talk you down and cause you to regret all that you have done and are doing for the Lord, tell it to shut up! Then remind yourself that you will be counted with the faithful, just as Barsabas and Matthias was. And although Barsabas was not made an apostle, he was faithful and God saw that, also! Dividends on this earth may be few and far in between, but we serve a wonderful God and a loving Savior who will never forget what we do for Him and His kingdom! Wonderful Jesus!