“A Life Well Lived” – A phrase we often hear at funerals to refer to someone who has made a remarkable impact on the lives of those around them. In our culture we tend to think about greatness as a descriptor that is reserved for those who speak in front of thousands, who’s books make it onto the bestseller list, or who’s faces are on T.V. But how does the Bible define greatness?
Jesus said in Matthew 20:26, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,”
How do we define a life well lived?
Andrew was the first disciple of Jesus to discover that Jesus was the Messiah, but one who was always in the background.
In John 1:35-42, we see that Andrew was the person who invited his brother, Peter, to come and see the Messiah. He may have lived in obscurity, but he was used by our Lord to touch one who touched thousands. His eagerness to follow Christ, combined with his zeal for introducing others to Christ, typifies Andrew’s character.
Scripture doesn’t tell us a lot about Andrew. He appears in the New Testament only nine times and most references simply mention him in passing.
Andrew lived his life in the shadows of his better-known brother, Peter. He is even mentioned in the text as Simon Peter’s brother.
Andrew’s personal encounter with Jesus took place a few months after Jesus’ baptism (see John 1:36). Andrew and John became Jesus’ first disciples. The news Andrew heard was too good to keep to himself, so he went and found the one person in the world he whom he most wanted to know Jesus and led him to Christ (see John 1:42).
We can learn three things from the Apostle Andrew.
I. HE SAW THE VALUE OF INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE.
Andrew appreciated the value of a single soul and he was known for bringing individuals, not crowds, to Jesus. Almost every time we see him in the gospel accounts, he is bringing someone to Jesus.
He brought Peter to Jesus and we know the impact the Apostle Peter has had on the world.
In John 6, we have the miracle of Jesus feeding the five-thousand, and it was Andrew who brought the boy with his lunch to Jesus. We don’t know the age of the boy, but he was someone that Andrew had noticed. Andrew was the kind of person who would notice a little boy in a crowd of thousands, where Jesus was the focal point. Andrew was not interested in being noticed himself, rather he went out of his way to notice others. This is such a valuable trait and gift that we neglect in our busy self-absorbed society today. Because Andrew brings this young boy to Jesus, one of the greatest Biblical miracles occurs.
Most people do not come to Christ as an immediate response to a sermon they hear in a crowded setting. They come to Christ because of the influence of an individual. Andrew brought Peter, and Peter’s ministry impacted thousands. All the fruit of Peter’s ministry is ultimately also the fruit of Andrew’s faithful individual witness. Few people have ever heard of Edward Kimball, but he was the Sunday School teacher who led D.L. Moody to Christ. D.L. Moody lived around 1860 and during his ministry he addressed more than 100
million people in person and personally prayed for and pleaded with seven-hundred and fifty thousand people. He started the Moody Bible college for training pastors and started two printing companies. Millions know the name of Moody, but few remember Kimball. Kimball brought Moody to Jesus.
Many Christians are intimidated by the lie that they cannot share the good news about Jesus because they won’t get it right. But, it’s really not that complicated, it could be simply inviting someone to church, introducing them to Jesus. Step out in faith and you will be amazed what God can do through you.
II. HE SAW THE VALUE OF INSIGNIFICANT GIFTS.
Andrew noticed the small things. Some people see the big picture more clearly just because they appreciate the value of small things. In the Gospel account of the feeding of the five thousand,
Philip’s vision was overwhelmed by the size of the need. But Andrew noticed the five loaves and the two fishes. No gift is insignificant in the hands of Jesus (see Luke 21:1-4).
God’s ability to use a gift is in no way hindered or enhanced by the size of that gift. It is the sacrificial faithfulness of the giver, not the size of the gift, that is the true measure of the gift’s significance. It’s not the greatness of the gift that counts, but rather the greatness of the God to whom it is given.
We dismiss the value of the little things. The phone call or a card to a neighbor who has recently lost a loved one or suffered some other kind of loss. In our fast-paced culture, your little gift of time and care is the very thing that can change someone’s life forever as you bring them to Jesus.
III. HE SAW THE VALUE OF INCONSPICUOUS SERVICE.
Andrew is the picture of all those who labor quietly in humble places (see Ephesians 6:6).
Andrew did not mind being hidden as long as the work was being done. We have lost the capacity to grasp the importance of serving without recognition. Not because recognition is wrong, but we have been duped into thinking that the only effective people in the kingdom of God are the one’s speaking to thousands or writing books as mentioned earlier. But we forget that we are serving an audience of One.
It is infinitely better to be recognized and approved by the Creator of the universe than to receive the temporal applause from man that is forgotten the next day.
Andrew the Apostle never stopped working behind the scenes. He never stopped bringing people to Jesus from as far afield as Russia, and it was this passion that ultimately led to him to be crucified himself by the Roman authorities.
How has God gifted you? God has placed you where you are to reach the one person that He has called you to.
“Never allow this thought—’I am of no use where I am,’ because you certainly can be of no use where you are not!” Oswald Chambers: