Jesus called twelve misfits to join him in his ministry. They dropped everything to follow him. All along the way their imperfections were screaming, “Loser”!
Jesus knew they were all a piece of work. He could have complained to God like Moses did, “Oh, Father, far be it for me to question your judgment, but isn’t there someone, anyone, else you could come up with for this monumental task? If I’m going to be babysitting these whiners and complainers for the next three years, how am I possibly going to get anything accomplished?” But, he acquiesces, “Not my will but yours, Lord.”
I don’t know, but I’ll take a stab at his reasoning. Jesus likely called them in particular so they couldn’t boast about how awesome they were, because they weren’t. Of course, it doesn’t seem as though they were aware of that until after Jesus died. Then you see a lot of their teachings in Scripture about not boasting. Like 1 Corinthians 1:31, James 4:16, and Ephesians 2:9, just to name a few.
What we don’t know is why the disciples so readily followed Jesus. I’ll take a stab at this one too. Off Jesus goes into the great unknown with twelve guys likely hoping for a shot at greatness. Surely by now they heard of the crowds he was drawing. He was charismatic and charming, and, WOW, those miracles…impressive huh? That’s why I think they went. After all, this Jesus seemed different than most of the powerful leaders of their day. He could sure draw the crowds! He seemed like a winner they could get behind. Perhaps they hoped for a management position. Of course, what do I know? I wasn’t there. But, it seems possible.
Thinking in terms of the culture today, Jesus might have hordes of people in line around four city blocks hoping to be chosen, as if it was a shot at some reality TV show, or like they were waiting to buy the newest iPhone! Okay, maybe not.
Anyway, we know the disciples faith and trust in Jesus waxed and waned throughout his ministry. Except for Judas Iscariot, who committed suicide, it wasn’t until after the resurrection that their passion caught fire; a passion that would take them to their deaths.
Think of the difference between the guys who scattered when their fear got the best of them and the guys who became faithful and fearless in spite of their limping along an uncertain path. That should give us all hope. Why? Because if we are honest with ourselves, we too, are misfits, doubters, seekers of power and acclaim, liars, and cowards.
Alrighty then, well, that makes me eager for Judgment Day. How about you? As for my sorry imperfect self, I want to run and hide! My imperfect body makes me cranky. My imperfect faith makes me scared to die. My imperfect emotions sometimes look like fireworks on the 4Th of July. My imperfect mind likes to stay awake at night reminding me of what an idiot I am – or what a moron someone else is.
Brene’ Brown, in her awesome book, The Gift’s of Imperfection, tells us it’s okay. How is that possible? She says:
Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness….I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.
Brown tells us that the gifts of imperfection are courage, compassion, and connection.
When we have the courage to own our own worthiness, then, and only then, can we reach out to others and use our God-given gifts to make a difference in this broken world we live in. The darkness needs your light. The doubts and fears of your neighbor or coworker need your courage. The hopelessness of the world around you needs to know the reason for your hope (1 Peter 3:15).
So, there’s your challenge and your call to use the gifts God has given you to take into this broken world! Now is not the time to question or doubt that you are called to serve, that you have anything to offer, that you can make a difference.
NOW is the time to jump!
It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering. You don’t have to cure cancer or win a Nobel Prize. Just give your lonely widowed neighbor five stinking minutes of your precious time! Smile at a teenager you don’t know and act like you’re not afraid they’ll mug you. Take flowers to that crotchety grocery clerk you’re always judging.
COME OUT OF HIDING!
If Not Us…Then Who?
We seek you in places you have already left and fail to see you when you stand before us.
You interrupt our comfort with your nakedness,
touch our possessiveness with your poverty.
You challenge our smugness.
You come so we can touch you with our hands,
yet we refuse to touch the hands of those you love most deeply.
You are at once, sign and hope and stumbling block.
Your persistent call disturbs our settled lives.
May we neither cling to the fear that holds us back,
or refuse to embrace the cost of serving when it is required of us.
You drive us into the desert to search out your truth.
You are outrageous hope.
Help us to abandon our worldly penchant of failing to choose to follow you.
You urge us beyond all reason to love our enemies.
You disarm our judgment with your radical mercy.
Stir us to new vision and uncover our injustice and arrogance.
You are gift, you are hope, you are joy meant to be taken to those who sit in darkness.
If not us…then who will go?