COLUMN: Everyone matters
Published 6:34 pm Monday, September 18, 2023
I didn’t grow up with siblings, but now I have two lively young children. I’m learning all sorts of new insights! One moment, they can be one another’s best bud; the next, one is loudly protesting his or her innocence while the other is crying. They bring the biggest smiles to each other’s faces, but also they can get on each other’s nerves the most. I imagine that is true for most siblings. So maybe it was true for siblings in the Bible, too.
Jesus’ disciples included two sets of brothers. One set, James and John, were known as ‘Sons of Thunder,’ and they shared a stormy approach to life. But the other set of brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, were a bit mismatched. Simon Peter was the leader of the pack, the spokesman for the other eleven who always spoke up, often with his foot in his mouth. But Andrew was quieter, more of an observer; he was in the background with nine others while Peter, James, and John took most of the spotlight.
But, thanks to the Gospel of John, we learn a bit more about Andrew.
In John 1, it is Andrew, already a follower of John the Baptist, who introduces his brother Simon to Jesus – Simon, who will be named Peter and will be one of the most important leaders in the early Jesus movement. Then, in John 6, when Jesus looked with compassion over a massive crowd eager to hear his teaching despite it being dinnertime, Andrew was the one who brought a boy with a lunch to Jesus, though how five loaves and two fish can feed 5000, Andrew didn’t know. And in John 12, it was Andrew who connected curious out-of-towners wanting to meet Jesus with his Master.
Reading closely, it may have been Simon Peter who was the up-front guy and spokesman, but it was his brother Andrew who played an equally vital role: Andrew, quiet Andrew, was the one who helped connect people with Jesus when they had a need or when they could provide help.
Too often, we see people who seem to be super-spiritual or who have special abilities to help those in need and we think, “Well, I can’t do that – so I’m not all that important to God.” We can look down on our own faith. But Andrew’s story reminds us that we all have a part to play in what Jesus is doing – and each of our parts is very, very important.
So each of us needs to remember: God has a calling for us, God has a job for us, God has a role for us in his kingdom work. Who do you know that God might want you to connect with Jesus and what Jesus is doing? What might God want you to do, right where you are? And what is holding you back from being an Andrew for Jesus?
Rev. Dr. J. Adam Tyler is the senior pastor for Farmville Baptist Church, and he can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.