I don’t know about you, but when I listen to a talk, or sermon, I don’t really listen! Well, I do try, but then something that the speaker says intrigues, challenges or inspires me and I end up thinking about and exploring that before coming back in to the talk!
Well, that happened to me the other Sunday when Graham was speaking. I fact it happened 2 or 3 times around the same theme.
Graham talked about the first disciples joining Jesus and what inspired them. Or at least I think he did… because I was soon off into a thought: “What would Jesus’ disciples say if they come to our church, or churches…?”
They were pretty rough and ready – working men, including 2 fraudsters (sly, thieving Judas and corrupt official, Matthew) and a terrorist (Simon the Zealot).
There were posh, pretentious, powerful, religious, wealthy, intellectual, etc., etc. people around, but they weren’t the disciples..
Most stories that feature what the disciples did or said reveal them to be unreasonably sold out to following Jesus. Impetuous (usually Peter!), sometimes stupid and failing (OK, Peter again!), emotional, often selfish (the brothers wanting to be at Jesus’ right hand in heaven), questioning (Thomas), but not over intellectual people. From small villages – not the major, centre-of-it-all, cities like Jerusalem or even Rome. Or the ‘Westminster Bubble’!
Not sophisticated people with hidden motives (Jesus on Nathanael in John 1: 47), ambition for personal position in worldly terms (though ambition comes – back to the brothers..). But they were prepared to believe and trust. They gave up all security and any hope of respectability.
So, I wondered who recently is like this? I thought of Smith Wigglesworth, who was an illiterate plumber who only started in ministry at the age of 50. The more people I thought of, the more I realised how embarrassed I feel when I am around them and/or hope not to be publically associated with them!
So, I ask, what does that mean for me…? And our family….? Who are we and where are we in our hearts? Questions, not answers. But I challenge myself – is my image of who I am and should be and what is a ‘good’ disciple in line with the ones Jesus chose and invited to be his most trusted partners in taking His message to the world…?