But You Picked Me…

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“You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you. But remember the root command: Love one another.” John 15:16-17 (MSG)

The sand would be cold in the morning, as I slipped my feet out of my flip-flops. The sky and the water and the sand blending together in shades of pale gray blue, waiting for the soon to rise sun to pierce through the darkness and bring it’s aquas and turquoises and brilliant shocking blues trailing behind it.

Drawn to the water’s edge we would stand. Breathe deep. Take in the air, heavy with salt. Our eyes adjusting to the soft rise and fall of the waves, the fin of dolphins in the distance. A lone pelican flying overhead.

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And we would turn toward the rising sun and walk.

For the first few days I would keep my eyes lifted high. Skimming the surface of the water. Watching the soft pink sky proclaim the coming light. The dark outline of the fishing pier setting the boundary in the distance.

For I knew, from experience, the moment I allowed myself to look down, I would become captivated by the diamonds of light shimmering in the sand. At least, that is what they look like as you approach them: water receding, light illuminating, the shells catch the earliest rays of the sun and glimmer as if lit with electricity from within.

In this powder white sand, the shells are white. Bleached and glowing. Small and round. And then you see it; the perfectly round sphere of a small sand-dollar. You reach down. You pick it up.

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Fragile and perfect in the outstretched palm of your hand, you know there will be no going back. It is undeniable, this urgent desire to look hard at the sharp white shells the ocean has laid at your feet. This soft moving line of water touching land is alive with treasures just waiting to be found. You reach down and pick up another.

My friend Jane carefully packed my sea shells in a cardboard oatmeal box, nestling them between paper towels. Marking the top of the box with ‘fragile’ in her familiar hand-writing. The box still sits on my kitchen counter after the long drive back to my city world, waiting to be unpacked and rediscovered. Today I will do that. Carefully inspecting each one. Finding the perfect shallow dish for their new home. Deciding where they shall live for the next year or two or three. Reminders of early morning walks, surrounded by God’s beauties as the sun came up and His new day begin.

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Last night as I soaked in hot water and listened to A Fine Frenzy, I was reminded of the sand-dollars and how each one had caught my eye, appearing as if by magic, different from all the other shells – and I had no choice but to pick them.

And this morning I am reminded of something Jesus said in those last days he spent with his disciples;

“You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you”

Ahhh. To be chosen. To be picked out from all the rest and placed in His pocket. Carried close. Cherished. Taken from a destiny of destruction from the crashing waves and the friction of water against the sand. This is me. Chosen. 

But chosen for what? In the words of Jesus, chosen to bear good fruit. Fruit that will last long after I have stopped walking the shores of this land. These are His instructions below;

“You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you. But remember the root command: Love one another.” John 15:16-17 (MSG)

So, I have been chosen to bear fruit that is eternal; fruit that finds its origin/source/root, in love. And that love seems to be tied up in the relationship between the Father and His son. And it is a relationship of giving…

I am still learning this idea of love. It is not as easy as it sounds. Sitting alone, reading these words I think, “Oh yeah, I can do that. That is really just all I need to do – love others.” But as soon as I start talking to others, it’s not so easy. Is it, now?

So, I back up deeper into these words of Jesus. He compared himself to a grape vine, and to those who he had chosen as his branches. 

“You can never bear fruit apart from me,” he explained. “But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.” John 15:7-8

I love this description of being ‘at home with Jesus’, and taking His words in, thinking about them, pondering them, hiding them within my heart. And with that comes a reassurance that I will be heard, I will be seen, my requests will be acted upon. Incredible!

And he tells us more; 

“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.” John 15:9-10

This why we have been chosen. This is the fruit we are to bear. The love of the Father.

These shells will be my touchstone, my reminder. Just as I chose these shells, Jesus reached out and chose me. With great and precious purpose. To love as He was loved by the Father. To love others as He loved them. Can I do it? Today – can I do it?

Lord, fill us with your love. Help us to abide in you: to make our home in you. Help us to love as you have loved. Because we have been chosen – to love.

Question: Do you realize you are chosen? How does that affect the way you think of yourself? Does it give you confidence? How does that truth spill over onto the people around you? 

You Picked Me by A Fine Frenzy


Like an apple on a tree
Hiding out behind the leaves
I was difficult to reach
But you picked me
Like a shell upon a beach
Just another pretty piece
I was difficult to see
But you picked me
Yeah you picked me

You Picked Me Performed by A FINE FRENZY

Songwriters: Alison Sudol / Lukas Burton / Harold J.K. Cragin

You Picked Me lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, A Side Music LLC D/B/A Modern Works Music Publishing, Reservoir Media Management Inc

All scripture quoted from The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson