Grace Christian Church - LeRoy MN Grace Christian Church
115 E. Frederick, LeRoy MN 55951  (507) 219-1774
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The Glory of the Ordinary

Little Things Mean a Lot

Andrew, the Man Who Was Satisfied Being 2nd Fiddle

Key texts: John 1:36-42 (context includes vv 19-34), Mark 1:16-18, John 6:5-12, 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 Please read these in your Bible or look them up online.  Bible Gateway is one handy place to do that.

The Pioneer Press often has a weekend list they call, "Sainted and Tainted" which is incidents people send in where they experience some unexpectedly good deed or where the incident showed a particularly disappointing deed. This weekend's list includes one tale where a woman went to mail a package during lunch hour, but the wait was too long and she had to go back to work. Another person in line offered to add the package to hers. But the woman replied, "I don't have enough cash to give you for it; I was planning to swipe my card." The stranger said, "never mind, I take care of it. " How will I pay you back... You can't, just pay it forward...

There are several more stories this week, and soon another group will appear.
There are countless "little things" that people do that make a difference. Maybe not a huge difference, but enough to matter.

Today's scriptures tell about a man who lived in the shadow of his much more prominent older brother. But maybe there never would have been a disciple named Peter were it not for a kid brother named Andrew.

Even though Andrew was one of the first to realize Jesus was Messiah, (John chap 1) along with John himself - evidenced by his knowledge of the time of day and following John's typical pattern of NOT mentioning himself - Andrew never was one of the key leaders of the Disciples. He was always in the shadow, not the limelight.

His older brother, Peter, was the star. Andrew was one of the team's 'role players'.
Various times it seems naming him was an afterthought or he was named as "Peter's brother" implying you wouldn't know about Andrew if it weren't for Peter.

He was NOT mentioned at various KEY moments in Jesus life... E.g., he was NOT there for the transfiguration, raising of Jairus' daughter from death, at Gethsemane only his brother Peter and the brothers, James & John were asked to go further into the garden and heard Jesus actual prayer.

Andrew is never mentioned in Acts or any epistle. But church history records that his life took him north, probably into what is now southern Russia and eastern Europe.

He probably died by crucifixion, the result of leading a Roman governor's wife to Christianity. When the furious governor could not get her to recant, he had Andrew crucified in a particularly cruel manner, even more cruel than the usual crucifixion.
Like his more famous brother, Peter, who was crucified upside down, both paid with their lives for the gospel.

Andrew was strong and secure enough to be open minded, willing to investigate and research and to follow the truth.

In John 6, maybe Andrew was a bit simple-minded while Philip was technically correct. After all, there was not nearly enough money to buy food for the large crowd. But Andrew was the "lateral thinker" going outside the box. Philip was the linear thinker, following normal routines of life.

Andrew was a "manly man" who lived and died consistently adhering to his core values. This is precisely the ideal example for the "average" Christian who is expected to be an effective follower by giving devout attention to the "little things" or the usual circumstances of life -- individual people, ordinary gifts, inconspicuous service.
1 Corinthians 1:27-29...  But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. He chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the things of this world that are common and looked down on. He chose what is not considered to be important to do away with what is considered to be important. 29 So no one can brag to God.

Although Andrew was a "quiet type" he still had a great deal of influence! He is still respected deeply as the patron saint of Scotland and Russia. Numerous places have been named in his honor.  Golfers, many of whom are not notoriously Sunday church attendees, know about Scotland's St. Andrews.

Here is an example of an American.. Question: who was the Bible School teacher who challenged the young Dwight L. Moody with halting words to become a Christian?  This is the D.L. Moody who went on to preach to many thousands of people, leading to their conversion. It was Edward Kimball, that shy and soft-spoken man. But he was a Sunday School teacher who decided to go to the Boston shoe store where the 19-yr-old Moody was working. He "cornered" him in the stock room and proclaimed Christ to him and Moody accepted.

Here is his account... I decided to speak to Moody about Christ and about his soul. I started down to Holton's shoe store. When I was nearly there I began to wonder whether I ought to go just then during business hours. And I thought maybe my mission might embarrass the boy, that when I went away the other clerks mignt ask who I was, and when they learned might taunt Moody and ask if I was trying to make a good boy out of him. While I was pondering over it all I passed the store without noticing it. Then, when I found I had gone by the door I determined to make a dash for it and have it over at once. I could never remember just what I did say: something about Christ and His love; that was all."

Edward Kimball admitted he spoke with 'limping words' and that it was a "weak appeal".  BUT -- then and there, Moody gave his heart to Christ.

It is NOT the magic of our words, or the mastery of our presentation. It is the majesty of Jesus Christ that attracts people. Any person who believes in Jesus has something to share with somebody else.

Every person who is devoted follower of Jesus Christ CAN have an effect on some other people to lead them to be devoted followers, too. Maybe not many, maybe only one or two. Other people have great capacities to lead dozens, or hundreds or thousands to Jesus Christ.

When I was about 20 I spent 6-weeks in upstate NY with a teen age boy from California in camps and Vacation Bible Schools. We did a lot of door knocking. He was marvelous at it and I was always uncomfortable. Well, Gary Davis went on to be a wonderful preacher and has led many people to Christ. I have only seen him a few times in all those years since, but I read about his work.

If you are feeling uncomfortable right now, good. I am too. Feeling uncomfortable is often the beginning of spiritual growth.

In 1954 the song, Little Things Mean A Lot, reached #1 on the Billboard list. Kitty Kallen was the singer and it was her only #1 hit...

Blow me a kiss from across the room.
Say I look nice when I'm not.
Touch my hair as you pass my chair.
Little things mean a lot.

Give me your arm as we cross the street.
Call me at six on the dot.
A line a day when you're far away.
Little things mean a lot

Don't have to buy me diamonds or pearls
Champagne, sables, and such.
I never cared much for diamonds and pearls
'cause honestly, honey, they just cost money.

Give me a hand when I've lost the way.
Give me your shoulder to cry on.
Whether the day is bright or gray
Give me your heart to rely on.

Send me the warmth of a secret smile
To show me you haven't forgot.
For now and forever, that's always and ever
Honey, little things mean a lot.

Obviously, anyone who truly cares about another person shows it in countless LITTLE ways.  If we care about God the same devotion in all kinds of LITTLE things will happen just as surely.

Frances Havergal's hymn captures that challenge, the same one Paul gave the Romans (12.1) to present themselves as a living sacrifice...
Take My Life and Let It Be... consecrated Lord to Thee.