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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.
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
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 -
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Take My Life and Let It Be... consecrated Lord to Thee.