The King’s Men
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Matt. 4:18b (Holman) He saw two brothers,. . .
Jesus’ strategy was groups of one, three, 12, 70, and multitudes. He found His three by Lake Galilee. Twelve by eight miles at its longest and widest, Lake Galilee is very similar in size to our town, Springfield MO.
Being closely circled by hills causes strange wind currents on the lake that can quickly create violent storms. These storms gave Jesus ample opportunity to display His might. Being the only body of water ever walked on, it has been aptly called the “the most sacred sheet of water in the world”.
To better our world, Jesus chose to enlist people as His Kingdom soldiers. He gathered learners who were willing to be trained in how to be crackerjack soldiers expanding the Kingdom. He could have done it all by Himself, but included us in a farmer’s happiest fieldwork of all, the harvest.
Matt. 4:18c . . .Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew.
The distinguishing mark of Christ’s first followers was; they were undistinguished in every way. They were working people, common folks willing to serve Jesus without reservation. The King’s men were not orators or scholars, but became some of the most spellbinding speakers and best writers ever. It’s amazing what God does with ordinary yielded vessels. He likes to use ordinary people. He receives all the glory for what they achieve.
Simon was the Twelve’s natural leader. His name always appears first in each list. He was a loose cannon, always ready to fire. If you did not believe he was in charge, all you had to do was ask him. He would tell you.
Andrew regularly brought others to Jesus, including Peter (John 1:40-42), the boy with the five loaves and two fish (John 6:8-9), and the Greeks who said, “Sir, we want to see Jesus” (John12:21). I envy Andrew’s bulldog determination to bring people to Jesus. Peter always receives top billing when the Twelve are discussed, but Andrew’s example deeply moves me.
It’s beautiful to see two physical brothers who were also spiritual brothers. I enjoy this privilege, as did Moses and Aaron, James and John, the Wesleys. It’s good when members of an earthly family belong to God’s heavenly family. If this is not the case for you, intercede earnestly and remain holy at home. Noah won his family. We must strive to do the same.
Matt. 4:18d They were casting a net into the sea, since they were
Peter and Andrew lived in Capernaum, which bordered the Lake (Mark 1:21,29). They hailed from another nearby coastal town, Bethsaida (John 1:44), translated Fishtown. Thus, no surprise, they were fishermen. (We do not know if at this point they were honest fishermen or not.)
The now famous “Follow Me” call they are about to receive (verse 19) did not happen on the spur of a moment. They already knew who Jesus was.
These four brothers had been disciples of John the Baptist (John 1:35-42), who introduced them to Jesus. They had met Christ, talked with Him, and been told He was the Lamb of God. After being introduced to Jesus, the brothers returned home. When Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been arrested, He headed to Galilee to find these men He had already met.
Their faith journey can help us better understand God’s call on our life to service. They began by being challenged by a preacher. John, their first guide and mentor, strongly affected them, pointing them the right direction. I pray I can be used to inspire you to become spiritual movers and shakers.
After John, Jesus took over, and led the brothers through stages in their spiritual pilgrimage. We each can find ourselves in one of these levels.
Their final stage was martyrdom. This may not happen to us, but if not called to lay our death on the altar, we are called to lay our life on it. Some die by a sword. Is this call superior to the call to die holding a sword?
Before martyrdom, the 12 were sent out as Apostles. While living with Jesus, they became a support group for each other, bonding as a strong fighting unit. Eventually, they scattered. In this time apart from each other they did their best Kingdom work. Some of us need to scatter, to start new classes, new home groups. Others need to surrender to fulltime service. It’s a nagging that tends to not go away. We need Pastors and career missionaries.
For most of us, the developmental stage of the 12 that we can learn the most from is their first one. Back when they were devoted disciples of John the Baptist, they were laymen who stayed in their secular employment.
In the USA, 40% of Pastors are bi-vocational. They are the real heroes in Christianity. Like Paul, who made tents, they do extra jobs to supplement what they make as Pastors (often working fulltime for part-time pay). Around the world, bi-vocational Pastors far outnumber fulltime Pastors.
I wish I could convince laypeople that they too are bi-vocational. You have a secular job to pay expenses, but are expected to be busy serving the Lord fulltime wherever you are. We need believers who will serve God as round-the-clock worshipers, ministers, and missionaries in their jobs.
Few of us need to leave our current employment to do our best work for God. At most, only ten percent of us can make a living at the Gospel, and this is possible only if all believers tithe. Should the ninety percent who are secularly employed think of themselves as second-class Kingdom citizens?
You who have secular jobs are to be spiritually influential where you are. Often the jobs we want out of are the very ones God most wants us in. For many, quitting their occupation would send them away from the fishery.
Learn from the disciples. They at first retained their secular jobs. Most of you need to stay where you are. Multitudes of ministers know they would have had much more impact for the Kingdom had they kept their secular job.
You who have secular jobs give this church the money we have to have to do Kingdom work. Everything we do is in some way connected with the one-dollar bill. Your tithes and offerings fund the Lord’s work here.
Many have huge managing skill. You need to lay your vast potential–not one iota withheld–on God’s altar. Some who debate going on a mission trip should do so and also take it up several notches to sponsor orphanages.
Some who consider a medical mission trip should do so and also build a hospital somewhere. Some who run big companies should help nonprofits learn how to do business. Some of you who make good grades in school should give yourself to research to destroy every work of the Devil, to stamp out every vestige of Adam’s sin. For Jesus’ sake, teach us how to desalinate water, and find cures for diseases like autism. Expand your self-vision. Step it up. Think like children of the King. You are princes and princesses. Don’t be satisfied to serve Him with a spiritual yawn. Work with a victorious yell.
The 12 had to leave their jobs to be closer to Jesus, to live with Him. We can do this while staying in our jobs. The Holy Spirit brings Him near.
Jesus is as spiritually present at your secular job in Springfield as He was physically present on the shore of Lake Galilee. Walk closely with Him at your work. Live near Him. Be deep in the Word. Read it and pray a lot.
The Kingdom needs you to shake your part of the world for God. Be a worshiper, minister, and missionary out in the darkness. God’s best laborers serve Him where they are. Stay put unless you find an irresistibly compelling urge to do otherwise. God may want you to go elsewhere and do otherwise, but in the meantime, re-examine where you are. Look at it through a missions filter. This is your niche; stand in it. Turn your attention away from being responsible to win the whole world to Jesus.
I remind us. Everybody’s business is nobody’s business. By thinking of everywhere it is possible to serve nowhere. Our place to contribute is where we are right now. Go to work in your allotted part of the harvest field.