What’s so great about the apostle Andrew?
If you are like me, you probably don’t know much about him. Frankly there are not a lot of Bible verses about Andrew. He is only mentioned twelve times in the gospels, and most of those were in lists of the men chosen by Jesus to be his disciples. But without Andrew, things might have looked very different in that small circle of disciples.
So what’s so great about Andrew, and how can his example help us in serving our community?
In John 1:35-42, Andrew shows a hunger for spiritual things. He has been following John the Baptist - but when John the Baptist points out the Messiah, Andrew immediately leaves John, follows Jesus, and spends the day with Him. Once recognizing Jesus to be the One they have been waiting for, he quickly goes and gets Simon Peter, his brother, to come and meet Jesus too. It is apparent that Andrew has built trust with his brother, at least to the point that Peter doesn't blow Andrew off!
So for us who serve others, it’s so important that we develop relationships with people God puts in our path. We should be people of integrity that others respect, desiring to hear what we have to say. As we encourage others to go and serve, we can make a big impact in bringing others along to “get in the game." Every organization and every great cause needs Andrews to recruit and invite volunteers to be a part of their army.
I love that Andrew never seems to be in the limelight or standing in front of thousands to deliver eloquent speeches. But he is often in the background getting things done. Kenneth Wyatt, who painted portraits of the apostles after studying their lives, noted that the Andrew of Scripture seemed “continually busy, concentrating upon the business of the moment."
I assume Andrew must have been very personable and very much a man who loved talking with individuals. In John 6:5, when Jesus asks Phillip what they can do to feed the crowd, Phillip’s answer is “It would take more than half a year's wages to buy enough bread" (John 6:7 NIV).
But it seems like Andrew has been in and among the people, at least enough to know where to find food. Maybe his intentional interaction with people had won the favor of the little boy who gave the five loaves and two fish to Andrew, who now offers them to Jesus.
In order to win favor with people, we need to take the time and effort to get to know them on a personal level - including when we serve in the community. We must listen to their stories and learn about the folks we are serving. We should build relationships in a deeper, more meaningful way. Chances are, we will be blessed by them way more than we expected! They may not offer five loaves and two fish, but often God will show us His goodness and mercy through their life.
The next time we see Andrew in action is in John 12:22. Phillip is seeking advice from Andrew after a Greek delegation has asked to meet the Messiah. Then together they go to ask Jesus about the men.
It seems like Andrew must have first known Jesus intimately, to know whether He would want to meet with these men. And secondly, he was someone the other disciples looked to for wisdom or advice.
When we spend time with ministries or causes we are passionate about, it’s easy to know how best to serve and meet their needs. As we invest time in these ministries, we don’t have to be the "face" of the ministry to lead others and help with volunteers. They just need us to be faithful in helping others to get to know their ministry as we know it.
Andrew's brother, Peter, receives many more mentions in the New Testament than Andrew. He was by far the most prominent of the disciples. But as far as we can tell, Andrew was happy to be an ordinary guy living in the shadows of an extraordinary brother’s light. Andrew communicated with actions more than with words (at least with what we have recorded). He was an "usher" - he simply and continually brought others to Jesus.
We need Peters to speak to the thousands, but we need lots of Andrews to pursue individuals. Your goal? Know if you are a Peter or an Andrew, and serve the Lord faithfully in the way God has gifted you.
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