Sunday Scriptures — Diversity

Isaiah 40By Sandy Kirby Quandt

If you want to see a diverse group of people chosen to work together, look no further than the twelve men, thirteen if you include Paul, Jesus called as his disciples.

Thirteen different individuals. Thirteen different personalities. Thirteen different skill sets. Twelve men who worked together for one common goal…the advancement of God’s Kingdom throughout the whole earth. Preaching Christ, and him crucified. (That wasn’t a typo…Judas did not work for the common good, therefore, the number twelve.)

Among the original twelve disciples, we have Andrew, Peter, James and John (Jesus’ cousins) who were fishermen. Peter was the impetuous one. John, “the one whom Jesus loved”. James was called a “Son of Thunder”. Andrew brought his friend, Philip, to meet Jesus. Philip brought his friend, Nathaniel.

Matthew was a hated tax collector, considered a social outcast by the Jews. Simon the Zealot was an enthusiastic Jewish patriot. Some would call him a radical. Thomas is known as a doubter. Judas…greedy thief, traitor, betrayer…a devil used by Satan. (John 6:70-71)

Lesser known Thaddeus, Bartholomew, and James the son of Alphaeus round out the twelve.

Matthias was chosen by the disciples to replace Judas after he died. Jesus chose Saul/Paul, a leader in the Jewish religion, on the road to Damascus in a spectacular way. (Acts 9)

Some worked the front lines with name recognition. Some worked behind the scenes in obscurity. Some were at opposite ends of the political spectrum. Some had moments of greatness followed by moments of absolute failure. Some had failure before greatness.

Just as he does with us today, Jesus used each disciples’ abilities, strengths, frailties, and failures for his purposes. He took these individuals with different personalities and temperaments, melded them together with one common goal, and used their strengths and weaknesses to form a more complete, functioning unit.

As we work for Jesus, we may be the one speaking in front of the crowd. We may be the one organizing the group. We may be the one offering support and encouragement from the sidelines.

We may have a hot temper, be submissive, be politically outspoken, have a head for numbers, or be willing to work wherever we’re told. It really doesn’t matter, as long as we are willing to allow God to bring us alongside the diverse group of individuals he has chosen, and work together to accomplish the work he has set before us.

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Here are the names of his twelve disciples: Simon (also called Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James (Zebedee’s son), John (James’s brother), Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew (the tax collector), James (Alphaeus’s son), Thaddaeus, Simon (a member of “The Zealots,” a subversive political party), Judas Iscariot (the one who betrayed him). Matthew 10:2-4 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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