Their eagerness to lead, which caused so many clashes when they were together as a group, ultimately became immensely valuable when these men went their separate ways as apostles in the early church. Jesus was training them for leadership, and in the end, they all filled important leadership roles in the early church." —John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men
Scripture doesn't tell us much about Andrew. Apart from the places where all twelve disciples are mentioned in the New Testament, his name is only mentioned nine times. He lived his life in the shadows, and that's how he preferred it. He realized the value of small things.
I love how the passage in John 1:40-42 says, "He first found his own brother..." After Andrew made the decision to follow Christ, the first thing he did was go and tell someone else—his own brother! Simon Peter was Andrew's brother, and would eventually become the Rock of the early church. Read more about that here. This says a lot about Andrew's character and his mode of operation.
It was not unusual for Andrew to bring people to Jesus, as a matter of fact, he made a lifelong practice of it. You'll never read about Andrew preaching to thousands, like his brother Peter. Yet he made a significant impact for the Kingdom of Christ. He made that impact in small ways, by doing small things, consistently.
Andrew had a heart for ministry, in the background. You never find him demanding to be the center of attention. Instead of attracting attention, he deflected attention to the Savior. And Andrew never seemed to be jealous of those who served in the limelight. He was comfortable doing what he could in small ways, with the gifts uniquely given to him, for the Kingdom.
The profession of a fisherman required a certain amount of manly, physical strength. Andrew was bold, decisive and deliberate. He was driven by a passion for finding and sharing the truth.
Andrew first met Christ in the wilderness. Seems like an appropriate place to meet the Savior!
How many of us have met Christ in the wilderness of life?
His initial, personal encounter with the Savior is recorded in I John.
"The next day again John [the Baptist] was standing with two of his disciples [Andrew and John], and he looked at Jesus as He walked by and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God!'" I John 35-36
And Scripture records that immediately, Andrew (and John) followed Jesus. Immediately, without hesitation. That was how Andrew did things. Once he met the Savior, there was no hesitation to go directly to his brother and share the Good News.
The passage goes on to recored that that very day the two (Andrew and John) followed Christ and spent the day with Him. This was only the beginning for Andrew, and for John. The beginning of a lifetime filled with service and dedication, and a lifetime of bringing others into the Kingdom.
What a privilege to spend an afternoon in private fellowship with the Savior! I'm sure they had many questions. Scripture doesn't tell us. What it does tell us is that they left that evening convinced that they had found the true Messiah. And they had! They met, became acquainted with and began to follow the Savior that day. Thus Andrew and John became the first disciples.
"[Andrew had an] uncanny ability to see immense value in small and modest things." —John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men
Andrew found value in the small things. He fully appreciated the value of a single soul. Almost every time we see him mentioned in the Gospel he is bringing an individual soul to Jesus. One single soul, one at a time. That was his style of ministry. Obscure, hidden, small things, but still immensely valuable things.
Who can put a price on a single soul?
At the feeding of the five thousand, recorded in the Gospel of John, it was Andrew who brought the boy with the five barley loaves and two fish to Jesus. A seemingly small, insignificant portion for five thousand people. Yet it made a significant impact, and fed all the five thousand. It was met with the power of the Savior, and suddenly, it was enough!
Our small, insignificant portion, when met with the power of the Savior, becomes enough!
"...the most effective and important aspects of evangelism usually take place on an individual, personal level." --John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men
All the fruit of Peter's, in the limelight, ministry ultimately became the fruit of Andrew's, behind the scenes, ministry. When thinking about Andrew's ministry I am drawn to the comparison of a Sunday school teacher named Edward Kimball.
In 1854, Edward Kimball was a Sunday school teacher in Detroit, Michigan. He went to visit a seventeen-year-old boy who attended his class, This boy had little interest in the things of God, or religion. During Kimball's visit with this young man, at his job in a shoe shop, he led the boy to the Savior. That young man was D.L. Moody, who went on to become one of the greatest evangelists the world has known. His legacy lives on to this day. In his lifetime, Moody shared the gospel with millions and founded Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois.
However, the story doesn’t end there. Through his ministry, D. L. Moody was responsible for a London pastor named F.B. Meyer coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Meyer was responsible for J. Wilbur Chapman coming to faith. Chapman influenced Billy Sunday, another prominent evangelist of the 20th century. Billy Sunday was responsible for a man named Mordecai Ham coming to faith. And Mordecai Ham, was responsible for leading a young man named Billy Graham to Christ.
Billy Graham may even have been responsible for bringing some of you or someone you know to Christ. Friends, that's spiritual DNA. That's a spiritual family tree—an eternal lineage.
The power of individual evangelism builds a spiritual legacy! Edward Kimball’s story reminds us to never underestimate the influence you can have on the world by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with just one soul.
Never underestimate the value of the small things!
God delights in the small things. He delights in our small acts of faithfulness. Just like the five barley loaves and two small fish. Just like Edward Kimball's witness to a young man in a shoe shop. Small things can be used to accomplish great things for the Kingdom when God is involved. It's not the small things we do in our own strength, it's the small things we do in His power.
"He takes the sacrificial and often insignificant gifts of people who give faithfully, and He multiplies them to accomplish monumental things" --John MacArthur, Twelve Ordinary Men
Andrew was a picture of all those who labor quietly in humble places. "Not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart." Ephesians 6:6
Andrew never preached to multitudes. He never founded a church, never wrote an epistle, he isn't even mentioned in the book of Acts or any of the epistles. History tells us that he took the Gospel north into parts of Russia. He would ultimately give his life for the sake of the Gospel.
Personally, I am thankful for faithful, behind-the-scenes people like Andrew. I am challenged to be more like them. These people are busy about the Lord's work without much, if any, recognition. They are sacrificial and don't seek attention for themselves. Someone you know probably comes to mind as you are reading this. I know some people who specifically come to my mind that fit the description of Andrew perfectly. Laboring faithfully. Inconspicuously giving small, insignificant, sacrificial gifts to accomplish big things for the Kingdom. They don't seek recognition. They don't need it. They only want to hear the Savior say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." And they will!
"His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’" Matthew 25:21
In effective ministry it is often the small things that count the most. Individual people. Insignificant gifts. Inconspicuous service. God delights in the small things.
What faithful, behind-the-scenes person comes to mind as you read this post? How can we be faithful in the small things for the Kingdom of Christ today?
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