Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

Admirable Andrew

IF YOU HAD to choose one of the apostles as a role model, which one would it be? They each had their redeeming qualities, of course, but many also had major flaws. Thomas the Timid. Peter the Prideful. John and James the Judgmental. Judas the Jesus-Betrayer.

I’d go for my namesake, Andrew the… what? It is hard to draw much of a detailed picture of him from the few Bible references available, though that in itself is revealing in a reverse kind of way. As I have observed before, he seems to have been content to be a foot-soldier rather than a footnote.

I do see two things about him I aspire to, however.

He was observant. Andrew already had an idea of what life was about; he was a follower of John the Baptist. But when John remarked that the passing Jesus was “the Lamb of God” (John 1:35), Andrew took notice. Maybe there was more he needed to look into; he and another disciple decided to find out more about this newcomer. And what a difference that made.

Later, when Jesus asked His disciples how they were going to feed all the people that had come to hear Him, they all looked at the ground and kicked their sandals. Except for Andrew. He looked around and noticed a kid with a small lunchbox. He may not have seriously thought it was a solution, but taking inventory of what was available opened the door for a miracle.

Often, I am so caught up in my own world that I don’t take time to acknowledge there’s a bigger one out there. If I were more like Andrew, I might find some unexpected possibilities opening up.

He was openhanded. If Andrew’s awareness or curiosity created new opportunities, he didn’t just keep them to himself. He was eager to share what he had discovered.

When he checked into Jesus, following John the Baptist’s comment, “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ).  And he brought him to Jesus” (John 1:41-42). Apparently his first thought was not, Good for me! Instead, it was, This is so good my brother needs to know too!

Suggesting Andrew was generous because he pointed to someone else’s lunch for sharing may be a stretch. Still, in his action there was at least an indication that he was concerned enough for the needs of the others, the hungry crowd, that he wanted somehow to help.

There is a difference between being unselfish and being unwise, of course. However, I suspect that what we often call caution in terms of sharing is actually a poverty mindset; the belief that there’s only so much to go around, and if I give up some of mine I am going to go short.

If I were more like Andrew, I might be confident that, with God, there is always more than enough of Him to share with others without losing out myself.

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