"What am I supposed to do with my life?"
"I don't feel like what I do matters very much... that my life makes much of a difference. How do I make my life count?"
"I'm nothing special. I'm shy. I don't know a lot of people. I don't make friends easily. So how in the world am I supposed to make a difference for Jesus?"
"As a new follower of Jesus, what am I supposed to do now?"
These are real questions I've been asked by real people. Some of these people were depressed and discouraged. Others were excited to begin their new lives in Christ. Others were simply frustrated because they didn't feel like their lives were making a God-difference in the world.
So what do I tell them?
What would you tell them?
Even more to the point is this question: Is there an example in Scripture that we can give them to follow so that they can find an answer to their life-longing to make a difference in the world for Jesus?
Andrew was one of Jesus' apostles. He was Peter's brother. He wasn't known for making a big splash or drawing attention to himself. However, his life made a lasting difference for Jesus!
The Gospel of John introduces us to Andrew as a disciple of John the Baptizer. He had made himself ready for the coming Messiah as proclaimed by John. So when the Baptizer pointed to Jesus and declared him to be "the Lamb of God," Andrew and another of John's disciples followed Jesus. John's gospel continues the story:
Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?"
They said, "Rabbi" (which means "Teacher"), "where are you staying?"
"Come," he replied, "and you will see."
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon" (John 1:38-39).
From this mention through the end of John's gospel, Andrew is specifically mentioned three additional times. Each time, Andrew is found connecting people with Jesus:
- Taking his brother, Simon Peter, to meet Jesus as the Messiah (John 1:40-41).
- Taking the boy with five barley loaves and two small fish with Jesus to feed the multitude (John 6:8-9).
- Taking Gentile seekers hoping to meet Jesus at the feast on Jesus' last trip to Jerusalem before his crucifixion (John 12:20-22).
These four glimpses of Andrew in the Gospel of John give us the four primary pillars of "The Andrew Effect":
- Connecting with Jesus personally.
- Connecting those we know with Jesus.
- Connecting those who want to help with Jesus.
- Connecting people of other cultures with Jesus.
God made each of us personally in our mother's womb. God knew each of us intimately before anyone could see our unformed body. God had a plan for our life before each of us was born (Psalm 139:13-16).
God continues to work in our lives through all of our experiences to develop us and use us for his good purposes (Romans 8:28-29). God — as Father, Son, and Spirit — gives us spiritual gifts to use to bless the body of believers with whom we live and share fellowship (1 Peter 4:10-11; Romans 12:1-8). We are not put where we are and when we live by accident. Each of us is where we are by God's design, and he continues to work in our lives for his good purposes (Philippians 2:13).
God has equipped, gifted, and called us to do some very specific things with our lives. However, we usually discover these specific things within the context of living our lives on mission for Jesus. The doors of opportunity and understanding for our specific calling arise out of fulfilling our life's mission of connecting people with Jesus. These results are "The Andrew Effect": as each of us lives these four principles, each of us begins to discover the unique purposes for each of our lives!
For the next several weeks, we will look at "The Andrew Effect." We will look to Andrew's example to see how we can incorporate Andrew's lifestyle into our own. Our Father in heaven will make his will and his specific calling for our lives clearer as we live out these principles in our daily lives.
Join us on the journey! Read the first chapter of the Gospel of John this next week and focus on Andrew's interest in Jesus. Let's join Andrew in living our lives connecting people with Jesus!