Encouragement From The Word

Drop everything…

In branches of the church that mark saints’ days, today is known as St. Andrew’s Day. 2000px-Flag_of_Scotland.svg(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).

Encouragement From The Word

Imitating Andrew

“There’s no Scot like a Scot abroad,” as the old saying goes, and there will be plenty of them sporting tweeds and tartans today.  Why?  Because it’s November 30:  St. Andrew’s Day.

Andrew is best known as the patron saint of Scotland, but there’s far more to him than that.  (He’s known as the patron saint of the Byzantine church, too, but we won’t tell our Scottish friends that, will we?)  If you look at the Scottish flag, it looks like a white X on a blue background.  But it’s not about “X marks the spot”.  Traditionally, it is believed that Andrew, one of Jesus’ first disciples, was crucified on a cross that looked like an X, rather than the traditional ‘t’ cross on which Jesus died.  Why?  Because, it is said, he didn’t feel worthy to be crucified on the same kind of cross as his Lord.

So even the national flag of Scotland gives us an indication that there must be more to Andrew than meets the eye.  What does the Bible say about him?

The short answer is, “not much.”  We know he was the brother of the more famous disciple, Peter.  We know he was a fisherman.  And we know that when Jesus called him, he responded without hesitation:  “One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living.  Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”  And they left their nets at once and followed him” (Matthew 4.18-20, NLT).

Really, that is Andrew’s claim to fame (whatever the Scots may say!):  he followed Jesus without any reluctance whatsoever.  And, if tradition is correct and he was crucified for his faith in Christ, then he gave his all, to be sure.

How about us?  We can celebrate this day with neaps and tatties or haggis or tartans or tweeds, but let’s truly celebrate the day by offering our unwavering devotion to the Lord Jesus, who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.  Put Jesus first.  You won’t regret it.