Thoughts for the Month of November 2017

THE COMMON DENOMINATOR

1 Samuel 7-9 | Luke 9:18-36

“When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them whom he also designated apostles.” —Luke 6:13

The Church of Jesus Christ was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. For the apostles, that would have meant a lifetime commitment; one that rejoiced with every new convert, but also a life that came with tremendous persecution and hardship.

The disciples Jesus chose were either going to turn the world upside down with the Gospel in that first generation or would cause the movement to fizzle out in one generation. It is understandable to assume Jesus would be looking for extraordinarily gifted people; spiritual super men and women who were swift, intelligent, confident and strong. But the reality is He called a group of ordinary people with all their failures and weaknesses to pass the good news of the Gospel on.

Peter was outspoken and impulsive. His brother, Andrew, was quiet and inconspicuous. James and John, also brothers, were fishermen in partnership with Peter and Andrew. Jesus gave them the name “Boaneges,” which means “Sons of Thunder,” presumably because they were proud and aggressive, not only in ministry, but they believed Jesus would overthrow the Roman government and they wanted to reign, one on either side of Him. Philip only speaks twice in all four Gospels, both times appearing a little slow in catching on. Matthew is the tax collector, considered the worst of the worst; Judas Iscariot, the money man who betrayed Jesus; Simon the Zealot a political activist; Thomas the doubting one; and James, the son of Alpheus, young and impressionable.

There were others disciples of whom we know little about, but the point is that they came with varying backgrounds, professions, beliefs and opinions. These were everyday people, no different than the majority of us. The marvelous thing is that Jesus takes ordinary men and women and calls them to extraordinary tasks. What is the key? What is the extra in the ordinary that makes the ordinary extraordinary? The common denominator in all these people was Jesus Himself. It was His resurrected life living in them that was their strength and empowerment in every situation, regardless of how insurmountable it seemed.

Hudson Taylor, a pioneer missionary to China in the 19th century, has said the secret of the Christian life is an exchanged life. These were all people who exchanged their weaknesses and fears for Christ’s strengths, their folly for His wisdom and their failure for His victory. That is still Christ’s agenda today. We need no credentials, qualifications or experience, simply a willingness to be available to Him and a heart to serve Him.

With thanks to www.livingtruth.co.uk