One of the first tasks Jesus did to begin his ministry was to gather disciples. These men would journey with him, witness his miracles and learn from his messages. Their commission, once Jesus ascended into heaven, was to spread the word of Christ. These men were to be the spark that builds the church and convinces generations to come to the hope and love found in the Messiah.
With such a monumental responsibility, one would expect Jesus to seek out the most dynamic, intelligent and talented men of his time. True to his nature, however, Jesus found his champions in the least likely places. His first stop was on the edge of a sea, where ordinary fishermen labored. As his crew develops, one quickly realizes Jesus is recruiting an unlikely group of men. John MacArthur calls them, “twelve ordinary men,” in his book titled as such.
There is much to learn from this approach. First, if Jesus can use such “ordinary” people, Jesus can use everyone who often feels ordinary, average, or even worthless. In fact, throughout scripture, God is in the habit of seeking out just such people. This method empowers everyone to see that in Christ Jesus, all things are possible. In Christ Jesus, no one is worthless. One reason God does this is to show God’s power and glory.
The second lesson we learn from God’s method of recruiting “ordinary” people is that God does not call the qualified. God “qualifies the called,” as the old saying goes. Here, someone can take on a task that seems out of reach, because God will provide the means to accomplish it. If God truly sends us on a mission, God will make a way and gift us the talent to achieve it.
Third, God wants us to remain humble, not be discouraged by our personal limitations, and rely on Him. The best lesson of this is the provision God makes for his people as they wander in the desert. He provided daily bread to remind them that they need Him every day. Imagine how much less stressed and more confident we would be if we simply relied on God rather than our own strength. The disciples learned this lesson well, and in so doing completed their assigned task of bringing the name of Christ to the world.