I don’t know how many times I have heard others say, “If he were saved, just think how many lives he would change.” Such reasoning misses the mark. If Jesus chose His disciples based on resume, He would have pressed the rich young ruler into service. But He did not. (Matthew 19:16ff; Mark 10:17-30; Luke 18:18-30).
When approached by the rich young ruler Jesus set a discipleship standard. This wannabe disciple would first have to sell all that he had, give it to the poor, and then follow Jesus (Matthew 19:21).
I wonder how we would respond if a rich young ruler approached us today. Would we ask him to be on our board of directors? Serve as a deacon? Teach a class on finance? After all, we would reason, God could do a lot with such dynamic influence and money!
Nothing could be further from the heart of God or His discipleship plan.
Jesus loved the rich young ruler (Mark 10:21). Jesus invited him to become a disciple, but not because of what he could bring to the table. Jesus never chose someone for their gifting. He chose common people and empowered them to do uncommon things.
What kind of people did Jesus choose to start His church?
- They had no financial clout.
- They had no formal theological training.
- They were young.
- They were middle class citizens. For instance, Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen (Mark 1:16-20). Matthew was a government employee (Matthew 5:27). With the possible exception of Judas, they were Galileans. In other words, they were plain old country boys (Acts 4:13).
- They were a diverse group. Peter was brash. Thomas was hesitant. Matthew was politically conservative. Simon was radical.
- They were seeking after God.
- They realized the emptiness of religion and longed for real relationships.
- They were open to Jesus’ teaching.
- They were not rock stars, rocket scientists or robots.
- They were plain and simple and hungry.
Jesus did not choose His disciples for what they could do for Him. He chose them for what He would do through them.
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27).