St Matthias: Second Choice But Not Second Best

The feast of St Matthias reminds us that to be second choice is not necessarily to be second best. Matthias wasn’t originally one of the Twelve, although we are told he had been with Jesus ‘from the beginning’. When the apostles decided that they had to find someone to replace Judas, there was another disciple in the running, Joseph called Barsabbas, also known as Justus. So, Matthias wasn’t an obvious choice, even for the apostles; but he was the choice of the Holy Spirit, to whom they prayed for guidance. I wonder what effect that had on him. Did he have a chip on his shoulder for the rest of his life, feeling he hadn’t quite made the grade; or did he become a man of wide compassion, able to see into the heart of things? I rather think the latter. Matthias’s experience of being an outsider must have stayed with him but it was shot through with a sense of God’s grace and mercy. He knew that to be obscure was no bar to being faithful or to effective work for the Kingdom. He was what St John the Baptist desired to be, very little beside the greatness of God.

This morning, if you have woken up feeling low; if you are sick or believe you are someone of no consequence, be encouraged by the thought of St Matthias. It doesn’t matter whether we race into the Kingdom or limp there, so long as we arrive at last. It doesn’t matter whether we are the Lord’s first, second or five billionth choice, we are, all of us, chosen and called by name. Rejoice!

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