Jesus' Apprentices

Yesterday was a day for confession in church... First I confessed that I had actually managed to turn up without the full text for my sermon, through uploading the wrong file to my Kindle, then I confessed that watching The Apprentice is one of my guilty secrets... It is, as someone with a better turn of phrase than me, merely Big Brother with an MBA but I do enjoy watching Lord Sugar choose which of what is always an unlikely bunch of misfits, will partner with him in a new business venture… It has to be said that I wouldn’t partner with many of them in running a sweetshop… but maybe Lord Sugar sees something in them that I don’t…
But reflecting on the gospel reading yesterday morning the same could also be said of those the Lord Jesus chose to partner with him in the proclamation of the Gospel as his apostles... Those who were to carry on the family "business" after he was gone.
Thankfully he didn’t and doesn’t choose his apprentices using the same criteria or methods that Lord Sugar or the world in general does. Perhaps you remember an old parody that did the rounds, purporting to be the recommendation of a firm of management consultants to Jesus (this is one of the bits I didn't quote in the service yesterday because I didn't have it in front of me...)

Dear Sir
It is our opinion that the 12 men your have picked to manage your new organisation lack the background, educational and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have attributes required to work as an effective team:
Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has no qualities of leadership, preferring to pass the buck. The two brothers James and John place personal interest above corporate loyalty. Thomas clearly demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale.
We feel it our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. Simon the Zealot, obviously has radical leanings, Nathanael has a lazy streak and a sarcastic turn of phrase while we suspect that both James, the son of Alphaeus and Thaddeus would register high on the manic-depressive scale.
One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, has a keen financial mind and contacts in high places. He is highly motivated and ambitious. For that reason we recommend Judas Iscariot as your financial director and possible successor as chief executive.

A piece of fiction – but it holds truth within it – The people that Jesus chose to be his apostles were not the brightest and best in the eyes of the world… They were not the richest or the most highly qualified… They were, first and foremost disciples - people prepared to follow, and not follow trends or popular opinion or conventional wisdom, but follow God in Christ…
They were also not particularly virtuous… Look at Simon Peter’s fiery temper, James and John’s selfishness, Levi the tax collector’s likely love of money, Thomas and his doubts… etc etc. They were neither invited to follow Jesus as disciples or appointed to go out as apostles because of their virtues, but because of God’s grace… In the course of a very difficult conversation on my blog last week, one commentator asked “why does God use bad people to serve him?”  To which I said “Because he doesn’t have anyone else…” We are all sinners… Doesn’t matter how bad that sin is in the eyes of the world… 
But God in his grace can use any and all of us...



Andrew Kenny said…
Nice one David. I always find those fictional letters amusing as well as challenging!

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