St Andrew is my favorite apostle. Here’s why: I love the story of him at the feeding of the 5000. The disciples are disturbed by the hungry crowd and ask Jesus to do something about it. He tells them to do something about it. They grumble that there’s not enough money to buy food for all the crowd.
Meanwhile Andrew finds this boy with five loaves and two fish, and takes it off to Jesus. Now this just gets me. In the midst of all the grown ups chortling about not having enough money to do what they need to do, Andrew gets up and starts snooping around for a solution. He finds some food, and with his own child like hope and faith he takes it (and the boy) to Jesus and says, “Here’s a lad with five loaves and two fish.”
Did he think even then that Jesus might multiply the food? Did he not know what Jesus would do, but suspected he might do something–anything? We don’t know, but I think there was this fantastic faith–a belief that something unexpected and wonderful might just happen. Did the other disciples laugh up their sleeve? Did they think Andrew was, well, just a few sandwiches short of a picnic himself? Did they say, “Look, naive old Andrew is at it again. This time he’s taken a kid’s packed lunch to the Master to feed the crowd….Har har har.”
Maybe so, because Andrew then says to Jesus, “But what is this among so many?” Now I really love this too. On the one hand he has this childlike hope and trust. On the other hand, he’s just as self doubting and skeptical as anyone should be. In other words, Andrew is human. He wants to believe, but lacks courage. He believes there can be a miracle, then back tracks.
The really amazing thing about this is that this is just the sort of person Jesus uses. He’s not holding out for the super saints. He’s happy to use me and you and our faltering faith. He’s happy to use the simplest of gifts from the simplest of children, and then he takes it, breaks it, blesses it and gives it to feed the world.
If and when we get to sign up to meet the saints, Andrew is on my list. I think he’s a little bit in his brother’s shadow, so with any luck the queue to see him won’t be quite so long as the others.