When Jesus was choosing His disciples, He chose 12 normal, insignificant men. They were not famous people or great theologians. Most of them did not have a lot of education.
He didn’t call them to follow Him because He needed them but because He wanted them to be part of what He was doing, to understand Him and participate in His nature. He wanted them to start thinking. He was training them to go and change the world after He would leave. They must have His life, His heart.
The Gospel of John chapter 6 says, “Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?’” (John 6:5). We know from the Scripture that Jesus was saying this to test him.
“Philip answered Him, ‘Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little’” (John 6:7). In other words, Philip was saying, “Hey, I don’t know what to do! Count me out.”
But then enters another disciple—Andrew. Andrew says, “There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish” (John 6:9). He didn’t really know what this small meal was going to do among so many people, but he was just trying to figure out if there was anything he could do.
When I look at the responses of these disciples, I think that in all of us, there’s a little bit of Philip. We see the impossibilities and wonder what we can do about it. But I pray that in all of us there is also a little bit of Andrew.
Andrew reminds me of this one-string instrument in Rajasthan, India, where I lived for two years in my younger days. In some of the villages we would go to in the evening times, the whole village would get together and you’d see turbans and colorful clothes, and they’d start playing this instrument which only had one string!
Andrew was a one-string instrument, a one-talent man. You don’t read about him writing a book or performing any miracles or preaching any great sermons. No, he was just an usher.
He’s the one that brought his brother Peter to Jesus, saying, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41).
Another time, a bunch of Greeks came to Jesus, but they couldn’t get to Him. They said, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus” (John 12:21). And who was the person that finally helped them get some answer? It was Andrew.
So when the hungry multitude surrounded Jesus, Andrew must have been going around trying to find anyone that might be able to help. I suspect he found a lot of adults along the way. Maybe he saw a giant six-foot-eight guy with food in his hand and said, “Can I have some of that?” But the guy shouts, “What!?” and scares him off. I imagine he went to a whole bunch of people, because there were probably more people carrying food, but he must have only been able to convince the little boy. I think that was the extent of Andrew’s ability.
Still, what stories must he have told to get that little boy to give up his food? Have you ever seen little boys willingly giving up their lunch? Usually crows are the only ones who can snatch it away from them! But Andrew did it.
I remember one time talking to a senior ministry leader. We were talking about a whole bunch of things about the ministry, and right in the middle of it, he said, “I know you are busy, but I just want to tell you something the Lord did that is so amazing.”
Here a man who is incredibly busy with ten million responsibilities. I thought he was going to give me some fantastic report about something that happened in the ministry. So I said, “Tell me!” I was quite anxious to hear what he had to say.
He said, “The other week, I was driving, and I stopped at a gas station. On the road, I had been alone in my car, and I was praying, ‘Lord, I don’t have much opportunity to talk to many people about You. I haven’t done as much as I wish I could. It would be wonderful if You would allow me to talk to someone about You today.”
Right then, he realized that his gas tank was running empty, so he pulled into the gas station. Next to the gas pump, there was a public telephone. He couldn’t help but overhear the lady who was there talking to someone. She was talking about some incredible despair, some problem. She said, “Unless you come soon, unless you come right away, you will not see him. He is going to die!”
What do you do with that? This leader filled his tank, paid the money, and then he was on his way. But as he got going, all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit began to speak to him and said, “That was your answer. You prayed, and now you missed it.” He said, “Lord, I don’t want to go and jump into somebody’s problem. I don’t know who that lady is.” But then all of a sudden, he found he couldn’t drive anymore. He was so deeply convicted. And so he turned around and went back to the gas pump.
It’s a long story, but in the end, he was able to help two people on the verge of suicide and despair find hope in Jesus Christ.
See what can happen if only our hearts are sensitive to the Lord? It’s not always the big things; it’s often small things. It’s being available with whatever we have.
I think of the staff and School of Discipleship students at Gospel for Asia’s headquarters in East Texas. Through each one being available to do whatever their “one thing” may be—answering the phone, writing an email, fixing computer code, preparing food, greeting people at the front desk—they are impacting a generation of people they may never meet in this lifetime.
And so it was with Andrew. By being faithful with his one talent of being an usher, he brought Peter to Christ. This is the Peter who became a great apostle who opened the door of the kingdom to the world, the one who walked on water when everybody else stayed in the boat.
The Greeks whom Andrew brought to Jesus received one of the most significant revelations about His death on the cross: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24).
God is not looking for strong, able, powerful individuals. No, He is looking for nobodies. He is looking for someone who is willing to say, “Lord, I start from zero. I only have one string on my instrument. I will give what I have—that’s all I can do.”
Andrew became the reason, the medium, the bridge for the Almighty to do what He wanted to do. And forever it is recorded in His Word.
How I pray that you and I will keep our eyes on Jesus and offer all to Him so He can be all through us and our nothingness.
School of Discipleship is a unique life-changing year at Gospel for Asia’s home office in Wills Point, Texas (near Dallas). Students learn and serve alongside GFA staff and are daily challenged to live their lives in community with Christ and others. Along with discipleship classes, students have a ministry role in the GFA USA office, which enables them to be part of transforming lives on the other side of the world. The school is open to dedicated Christian single adults who are between the ages of 18 and 27.