The Gospel lectionary reading for today is from Luke 6:12-16....
Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
Imagine if Jesus had consulted human beings when it came to his choice of his first disciples. The response he would have gotten might have been something like this....
To: Jesus, Son of Joseph, Woodcrafters Shop, Nazareth
From: Jordan Management Consultants, The Solomon Building, Jerusalem
Thank you for submitting the resumes of the 12 men you have picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests, and we have not only run the results through our computer but also have arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.
The profiles of all the tests are included, and you will want to study each of them carefully. As part of our service and for your guidance, we make some general comments. These are given as a result of staff consultations and come without additional fee.
It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education, and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.
Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic depressive scale.
One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right hand man. All the other profiles are self‑explanatory.
We wish you every success in your new venture.
Thank goodness Jesus did not contact Jordan Management Consultants. Instead, he spent the night in conversation with his heavenly Father before choosing his twelve disciples.
But I wonder. . . when Jesus later ran into problems with those chosen disciples, did he ever have doubts? Was he ever tempted to think he made the wrong choices? Perhaps Jesus was tempted to doubt, as we all are from time to time. But then he would have remembered that night in prayer. He would have remembered that his heavenly Father had promised never to leave him or forsake him. And in that relationship with his heavenly Father, Jesus found courage to move forward in his relationships with each of his disciples, despite their many deficiencies.
We all have deficiencies in life. Like John Ortberg says, "Everyone's normal until you get to know them." Thank God, Jesus can use us in spite of our shortcomings.
There is nothing wrong with seeking the advice of other human beings before we make big decisions in life. But let us not forget to seek the most important advice of all, and to trust that advice above all others. . . the advice, the counsel, of our heavenly Father. . . who always knows best.