Three weeks from today we plan to be headed home. By the way if any of you have any tips for figuring this retirement thing out, I am open to suggestions. Seems like I am more tired than ever and only have the time for a few of the things I hope to accomplish.
Two weeks ago we took the grandkids to the zoo, but they made us bring them back home. Then last week they took us to a museum but we were too young so they had to bring us back too. Oh well! We are enjoying some really good times with our kids here and with some other family and friends.
Sunday Russell shared again from Luke 6. He said that he had intended to go on to the next chapter but the more he prayed about this and looked at it, the more he felt he should say some things about Jesus choosing the 12 apostles. I think it is the second time I’ve heard him say something like, “There is gold under every verse if you are willing to dig.” And as he began he said, “Jesus is our model for everything.” Sometimes I hear something and just want to park there for a while and let it sink in. Those 2 statements are that kind of thing. The more I think about them the deeper the meaning becomes and the broader the truth.
Starting in Luke 6:12 and reading through verse 16 we see the story of Jesus choosing the 12 apostles. The story begins with a powerful verse.
Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
Russell pointed out how amazing this is. He said he had never even come close to anything like this and doesn’t know of anyone who he could say had spent a whole night in prayer. But this is how Jesus prepared for a very important time of selecting the 12 who would be the inner circle of his disciples, that he would eventually trust with taking his message to the world. This is how Jesus prepared for important decisions and he is our model.
Then the text says that from his disciples he chose 12 whom he named apostles. This was a common word in that time and had a specific meaning. In the Jewish culture the Sanhedrin was the legislative branch of their community. They made the laws and they had apostles (sent ones) that they appointed to spread the news of their decisions. In the same way Jesus apostles were to spread his message to all the world. (Mark 16:15-16)
Russell also mentioned that he noticed that all of the apostles were men. This seems to be a consistent pattern in God’s economy. In no way does this suggest that women are of lesser value or importance in God’s eyes or in the life of the church. It is simply something we can observe and practice because it is God’s design. “Just trust God’s design.”
There is always something of value to see in every verse of God’s Word, even a list of names. As we look at the men Jesus chose to be his apostles, it is good to consider, why did Jesus choose these men?
When Samuel was sent by God to choose a king for Israel he was confused when God rejected the sons of Jesse. God spoke to Samuel and said, “man looks on the outward appearance, but The Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
And so what are the characteristics that God looks for to find someone he can use. If you take a close look at these men they were pretty ordinary men. They had no outstanding skills or talents that would recommend them for proclaiming the most important message of all time. Yet these are the ones that Jesus chose.
Russell mentioned that there seems to be a law of nature or sermonology that there are always 3 points to a sermon. No matter whether he starts with 2 points or 8, by the time he has fully organized his thoughts he ends up with 3 major ideas developed. So, what are the 3 characteristics of someone God can use in his service.
First; Someone God can use must have a teachable heart.
· Are you willing to learn and change?
· There are many Proverbs that speak of the wisdom of hearing reproof and instruction.
· When you listen to a sermon do you think of others or how it applies to you?
· How do you respond to correction?
The second characteristic is an obedient heart.
· Russell mentioned someone who jumped in and for several years has kept the lawn mowed and looking good, for the love of the church.
· Are you looking for the thing you can do for God and his church, then doing that thing?
Thirdly, God notices a heart that is satisfied with only him. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
· Those who are looking for nothing more than to be one with God.
· for the 12, all the compensation they needed was to be with Jesus.
God doesn’t choose men & women because of their amazing talents or gifts. God chooses those who have a heart to honor him altogether.
1 Corinthians 2:9 challenges us with these words: “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." What does God want to do with you or me? Are our hearts prepared for his service?
I hope you have found some things here that encourage and challenge you to examine your life with a view to being someone God would use. I know I have.
As always Be Faithful