In branches of the church that mark saints’ days, today is known as St. Andrew’s Day. (Even some Presbyterians, not necessarily known for their veneration of saints, will celebrate November 30 because Andrew is the patron saint of, among other things, Scotland. Because of this, there are hundreds of Presbyterian churches in Canada called “St. Andrew’s.”)
While I’m not one for giving any one Christ-follower a higher ranking than another (the Bible says that all followers of Jesus are saints, by grace), I’ve long believed that recognizing saints’ days gives us the opportunity to learn about great men and women of faith and how they served God devotedly, often in very hard times. So let’s take a look at Andrew.
Andrew was not, contrary to some assumptions, born in Scotland! He was a Galilean Jew, the very first disciple Jesus called (along with his brother, Simon Peter). He was a common fisherman, likely coming from Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. (By the way, you can visit that, and many other sites in the Holy Land, this coming February with my wife and me – click hereto learn more about our Israel pilgrimage. We’d love to have you come!)
When Jesus called Andrew and Peter to follow him, he said, “I will show you how to fish for people” (Matthew 4.19b, NLT). And how did they respond? Matthew records that “they left their nets at once and followed him” (Matthew 4.20, NLT).
Andrew was called by Jesus, and he immediately walked away from his livelihood to follow.
That doesn’t mean, when Jesus calls out to you, that he’s necessarily calling you into vocational ministry (though that may be true for some). But Andrew’s model for us is to attune our hearts to listen for the voice of Jesus, and to follow what he says. In our time, of course, this primarily happens through our reading of Scripture, wherein God speaks to his people. It can also happen through prayer, which, after all, is not just talking to God, but listening to God as well.
So on this St. Andrew’s Day, let me encourage you to emulate that first disciple, and respond to the call of Jesus, whatever you’re doing.
“Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land…” (Deuteronomy 5.33, NLT).