Everything rises and falls on leadership.
The presence of change in our world is obvious and moving faster than ever before. In times like these, leaders emerge and lead the way. When so much of what we see and hear causes us to find a better way, we need leaders to show us how to get there. But where are the really good leaders? We need leadership in our government, our community, our businesses, our churches, and our families.
In Luke 6:12-16 Jesus chose twelve common, ordinary men from among His many disciples to become apostles. He would send them out to preach the kingdom of God. There was nothing about them that hinted they could be great leaders. In fact, the few well-known apostles had major character flaws that should have warned of failure. And the others are so obscure you probably don’t even know their names. But these men turned the world upside-down (Acts 17:6).
So what do we learn about leadership from Jesus choosing His apostles?
Prayer should precede all of life’s decisions.
“And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12)
Jesus was a human being just like us, except that He was without sin. And though He was God, He placed the exercise of His divine attributes at the discretion of His Heavenly Father. Thus He did not use divine knowledge to figure out who to choose to be His apostles. His human knowledge was not enough to know whom to choose. He spent time in prayer.
On June 28, 1787 Benjamin Franklin addressed the Constitutional Convention after many weeks of unsuccessful debate to form our Constitution and government. He finally said, “I therefore beg leave to move – that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business…”
Many feel they don’t have time to pray. We are action people and need to get things done. Once a decision is made, it’s time to act. We know it’s not, but from the amount of prayer we put in to decisions, we are actually saying that prayer is a waste of time.
Jesus spent an extended time in prayer before choosing His apostles. What a contrast to the way that Christians operate so much of the time. We make decisions and then ask God to bless them. How much better the decisions would be, how much more effective we would be, if we would follow Jesus’ model: pray first – really pray – and then act.
God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
“And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.” (Luke 6:13-16)
Jesus chose 12 men. Some of them are pretty famous: Simon Peter, John, Judas. Most of them we only hear about once or twice – like the other Judas not Iscariot, the other John, or the other Simon (not Peter). Jesus didn’t choose people with extreme talent, ability, connections, or resources. He seems to have chosen ordinary people. In fact, most of them had major flaws. James and John were brothers nicknamed ‘sons of thunder’ for their anger. Peter always said the wrong things at the wrong time. Thomas was always a doubter. Matthew cheated his own people on on their taxes. Judas Iscariot seems to be the most trusted as the treasurer, and yet he’s the one who betrayed Jesus.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “God must love ordinary people. He made so many of them.”
Notice who God used in the Bible. Abraham was old. Elijah was suicidal. Joseph was abused. Job went bankrupt. Moses had a speech problem. Gideon was afraid. Rahab was a prostitute. The Samaritan woman was divorced. Jeremiah was young. Jacob was a cheater. David was a murderer. Jonah ran from God. Naomi was a widow. Peter denied Christ three times. Martha was worried about everything. Zacchaeus was small and money hungry. Paul was a religious leader who persecuted Christians before becoming one.
You may think you have nothing to offer God. Either you are too ordinary and have no marketable or noticeable talent. Or maybe you have too many pitfalls and defects for God to use. But God can and will use you. God seems to use ordinary people and even sub-ordinary people because they know that it isn’t because of who they are. When ordinary people do extraordinary things, only one person gets the admiration – God. Maybe God wants to use you so you can let Him shine.
There is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.
This story is confusing but the message is clear: no one took responsibility so nothing got accomplished. I hope you will do something for Jesus.