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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Casting lots?

So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 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.” So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles. ~ Actos 1:21-26

This passage has always struck me as a bit odd.

First, Matthias might be the one picked, but he certainly doesn't get mentioned with as much flourish as Joseph (or Barsabbas or Justus, whichever you prefer).

And second, it seems perhaps that this whole endeavor might be premature. This happens before the coming of the Holy Spirit, and later we will find out that the Christ's choice for the twelfth apostle is none other than Saul, who becomes Paul. 

Is that the point? That the Holy Spirit hasn't come yet, and so Matthias gets his place at the table by casting lots, (or flipping a coin or rolling the dice).

It makes we wonder if perhaps sometimes we do the same things.

There probably wasn't anything wrong with Matthias. Likely he served well (although we are never told one way or another). And yet, this group gathered rather hastily to get the correct committee in place with the right number of folks...

Before the Holy Spirit came.

I wonder if sometimes we are in such a hurry to get things done - with meetings, deadlines, constitutions, budgets and the like all nipping at our heels - that we forget to slow down and discern the work of the Spirit in our midst to see which way the wind is really blowing?

Lord help us to discern your plans by looking and listening for your Spirit's work in our lives. Amen.

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