St Andrew’s Day
Rev Felicity O’Brien, Dec 1 2011. All rights reserved. PDF
Mat 10:2 Mar 1:16. 29
Mar 3:18 Luk 6:14
John 1:40 John 6:8 John 12:22 Acts 1:13
When I was asked to talk about St Andrew today, my first reaction was: I know absolutely nothing about him. But then I thought, he does feature in the disciples, as one of the group. We are not told very much about him, but there are some significant points. First, as we heard in the Gospel reading, when Jesus called him to follow, he did just that. No arguments, no looking back, he and his brother Simon went without a second thought, leaving behind a respectable job as fishermen, for a future full of uncertainty. The point to note about Andrew is that he knew who Jesus was – otherwise, why follow him? He responded to Jesus call on his life, trusting that God would look after him.
The other time Andrew features in more than a list of disciples is in the story of the feeding of the 5000. Jesus had a problem – many people, no food, and it was getting towards mealtime. Tummies were rumbling. He asked Phillip if he could buy some bread – Phillip was from the area, and if anyone knew the situation he would.
But Phillip only saw the practical earthly reality – Lord, even $200 wouldn’t be enough to feed all these! He didn’t see the God reality. Andrew did. He said to Jesus, here’s a young fellow with a bit of food … He had an inking that Jesus could do something with even a tiny amount. And it wasn’t even choice food – the area near Galilee was known for its wheat exports, and here were barley loaves being offered – the food of the poor, and a tiny morsel of fish..
Andrew saw potential. But then he faltered as reality hit him – no, it wouldn’t go far. Maybe he had forgotten what happened to his ancestors in the wilderness as God blessed them with manna. You all know what happened next – Jesus blessed the little and it became the big, the overflowing, the abundant. The point of this Andrew episode is that he noticed the potential, and knew in his heart that God could do something with it. Well, what does this mean for us?
First, are you prepared to follow the call of Jesus on your life, without a second thought, without a backward glance, as Andrew did? It sounds really scary doesn’t it. This is what I have been trying to do since I first heard a call to ordination 3 years ago. I haven’t look back, but trusting God to take care of all the details has been an ever-present challenge for me. As I trust for one thing, God teaches me that the next thing will be looked after too, and I am being changed.
The other point we can take from Andrew’s story rests on the loaves and fishes. Can we, as Andrew did, see the potential in the small, poor things? Can we look at seeds, and know that they will grow? This means using what we have at hand, letting God bless it, to bring the increase. This can be using our talents, or using our financial resources – micro-loan enterprises show what even a small amount of money sown into Gods’ economy can accomplish – $20 from New Zealand can mean chickens for a family in Bangladesh, and eggs, and more chicks, and school fees for the kids, and food on the table., God blesses it and multiplies it!
Can we see the potential in ourselves – small, insignificant carbon-based life forms. We have potential because God made us, and God loves us, and God wants to bless and use us for the sake of the kingdom.
Andrew could see, just for a moment, what Jesus could do with the insignificant. Can we see it too, and follow Jesus without a backwards glance, trusting God for everything?
I want to finish with the words from a hymn I learnt as a child.
In simple trust like theirs who heard,
beside the Syrian sea,
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word,
rise up and follow thee.