Last weekend, I had the privilege of working together with an incredible team of people in offering The Encourager Conference to pastors and their wives. Just so you get a picture in your mind of these servants…here is a picture of the group:
Kevin Ueckert opened the conference with a meaningful message about the disciple, Andrew. It resonated within me when he spoke so I dug into my own study this week to meditate on this disciple and learn even more! I thought I would share with all of you some of Kevin’s thoughts and what I learned from my own study. I think that this message is for all of us…not just pastors/wives.
We first see Andrew when he became interested in John the Baptist and his message. If you have a Bible nearby, look it up in John 1:35-42. Andrew was actually there when Jesus arrived on the scene and John the Baptist said, “Behold! The Lamb of God!” Can you imagine his excitement? After spending the day with Jesus he found his own brother, Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah!” He brought him to Jesus and Jesus looked at Simon and said, “You are Simon, the son of John. You shall be called Cephas which means Peter.”
Not long after that, John the Baptist was arrested. At that point, Andrew and Peter, along with James and John went back to fishing on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus began his ministry preaching along those shores and saw them. He said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” The scripture says, “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” (Matthew 4:12-22)
We see Andrew’s name again when Jesus was teaching his famous Sermon on the Mount. The sermon came to an end and the people in the crowd were hungry. Philip, who was from the local area, focused on how much it would cost to feed all of those people! Andrew, quietly working on the problem, brought the boy with the fish and loaves to Jesus. Even though he did not know if it would help…he took action. (John 6:1-15)
In John 12:16-26 we see Greeks coming to worship at the feast during the last week of Jesus’ life. They sought out Philip and said, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Not knowing what to do, Philip turned to Andrew and together they took them to Jesus. It seems that Andrew was always taking people to see Jesus. Somehow he knew…that Jesus would not turn them away.
Andrew is also mentioned along with Peter, James and John coming to Jesus on the Mount of Olives to get further teaching from Jesus privately after Jesus had taught publicly in Jerusalem during the last weeks of His life. (Mark 13:3-4)
However, Andrew was not present when Peter, James and John saw Jesus transfigured. (Mark 9:2-10) He was not called out to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Mark 14:32-42) He was not present at the healing of Jairus’ daughter. (Mark 5:35-43) Only Peter, James and John were included in those moments.
It would have been easy for Andrew to feel that things were a little unfair. After all, he was the one who saw Jesus first. He was the one who brought his brother, Peter, to Jesus! Why did Peter get his name changed and he did not? Why did James and John, who were brothers, get to be included in all of the intimate events…but not Andrew? He was Peter’s brother! Why didn’t he get to be with them? Peter would not even tell him what happened on the mountain. Peter said that Jesus told them they were not to speak of it. How could this be right? But we never see any jealousy in Andrew. There is never any mention of Andrew feeling that things were unfair. James and John were called the “Sons of Thunder” by Jesus for their boisterous ways…but nothing negative is ever said about Andrew.
Church tradition says that Andrew continued to preach the gospel in Asia Minor and Scythia. Modern Scottish tradition says that he preached to their ancestors. The story of his martyrdom says that he was first stoned and then crucified on an X shaped cross. Legend says that as he hung there for two days, he continued to preach the gospel. Scotland honors Andrew with Andrew’s Cross on their flag!
Andrew quietly served wherever he was without any attention being drawn to himself. He appeared to always be seeking to go deeper with Jesus as we read about him soaking in everything John the Baptist and Jesus had to say…and if he did not understand something, he went straight to the source and asked him to explain! He had no need for the spotlight and appeared to be content with serving wherever God placed him. With Andrew, there was no comparing himself to others, no sense of something not being fair and no jealousy of his brother or his two good friends, James and John. Andrew’s name means “manly” or “courageous”. Certainly, as we look at his life and death, he lived up to being a man of faith and of courage.
So how does this apply to us? I had to ask myself…
- Am I comparing myself to others?
- Do I feel that I am being unfairly treated because of the city or neighborhood I am in? Or I am not in the job that I wanted to be in by this time? Or do not get the recognition I think that I deserve?
- Do I ask why others are in the spotlight or are appreciated and I am not?
- Do I feel that I am not in the “inner group”…feeling slighted?
Or am I…
- Faithfully serving right where I am?
- Digging deeper into Jesus every day?
- Bringing people to Jesus at every opportunity?
- Courageous to stand until the very end?
- Contented with where God has placed me to serve?
Will you join me in being an “Andrew” this week? He was anything but ordinary!
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6