And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
(Matthew 4:21-22 ESV)
Yesterday we read the story of Jesus calling Andrew and his brother Simon (later to be called Peter) to follow Him and become His disciples. Today we read about two more men, also brothers – James and John – becoming followers as well. All four of these men fished for a living. They gathered fish but God called them to become gatherers of people.
Jesus did not call professionally trained rabbis, who might have had a lot to unlearn first, to be his disciples. He called everyday people and developed the skills they already had to further His kingdom. Similarly, God called Moses and David, both shepherds, to lead His people.
To that end every one of us who considers ourselves to be a follower of Christ can use the skills we already have to serve. Teachers, for example, already have the skills to lead a Sunday school class, whether for adults or children. People with skills in construction, photography, law, and technology can parlay their skills into service within their church.
By using everyday, unknown, hard-working people God calls attention to Himself. He makes it clear that it is through His power that salvation is accomplished. The things that the first disciples of Jesus accomplished were amazing. But they never would have happened without God working in their lives.
This is important not because God is an egomaniac who needs attention. Rather, God wants everyone to notice Him because only He can save us. If God worked through famous, wealthy people who already have the world’s attention people wouldn’t see Him. They would give credit and attention to these human beings who have no power to save even themselves, let alone anyone else.
Based on this we can conclude that God is not working through the Pope. Or the Dalai Lama. Or Oprah. Even a cursory review of the message these people espouse demonstrates that they are not speaking for the God of the Bible. But even so, people would have a hard time seeing God through their fame and adoration. Earthly success can render people unusable by God.
God’s campaign to bring salvation to the world is a grass-roots operation. He uses those who are “nothing” in this world to instruct those who are “something” [1 Corinthians 1:27]. Sadly, though, we keep looking to our President for our solutions. Or to the United Nations. Or to some non-profit. None of these people or institutions can do anything to make life better on this earth. And they can certainly do nothing to address man’s biggest problem – sin – and the eternal penalty that accompanies it.
Those of us who are “nothing” in the eyes of the world are light to the world [Ephesians 5:8, 12-14]. And we each already have the skills necessary to bring Christ’s message to those around us. But as we learned yesterday, we have to be willing to take the risk and do it.
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