Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:26 NIV)
It was March 2015. I was about to leave my previous church which was in another denomination. I did not know where I was going or even if I could be a pastor again. Then, I started looking into websites of potential pastoral positions. I saw an opening in a Presbyterian church in Scarborough. About 10 years earlier, I found out about this church and I told myself that I would like to work at this church.
I sent my profile to this church. The interim moderator told me that I did not have the Presbyterian credentials to apply to this church. I could apply to the Education and Reception of the Presbyterian Church in Canada (E&R) and undergo an educational process to get my credentials. I went for my interview with E&R in April 2015 and was accepted provided I did a year of studies at Knox College, University of Toronto.
I started my studies immediately by taking 2 courses in the summer of 2015. I stayed on to do that year of studies at Knox. God provided for us as I studied. However, it was a year of taking chances. I knew I wanted to serve again in a church. However, was I on the right track by putting all my eggs into the Presbyterian basket? Was I taking chances by doing a year of studies at Knox? Is this risk worth it? All these thoughts came through my head as I spent that year and a half in transition. It was a year of struggling in prayer over these issues.
As I was studying that year at Knox, that Presbyterian church in Scarborough called another pastor. Where would I end up?
In Acts 1:15-26, Peter and the other followers of Jesus discover the need to replace Judas as the 12th apostle. They had a consultation of 120 of all the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem. They narrowed the list to Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed a prayer: “Lord you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of the two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” (Acts 2:24-25 NIV).
Here I want to emphasise that it was a choice of 2 gifted individuals, Joseph or Matthias. They wanted a 12th apostle. They only had one vacancy. Either one could fill that position. It was not a choice of a better candidate.
After praying, they took a risk. They cast lots and the lot fell on Matthias. So Matthias became the 12th apostle. When they drew lots, they were risking it. They were taking chances. They had already prayed for God to lead them. However, as they were in a deadlock over Joseph and Matthias, they decided to cast lots. I believe God lead them as they cast the lots.
There are many instances in our lives where we care called to cast lots; to take risks. Sometimes we might not know where we are going when we take the risks. As we pray God leads us. The key thing is that we pray.
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. (Proverbs 16:33 NIV)