Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.
Mark 3:13-15 (NIV)
Read: Mark 3:13-19
Consider: Looking over the list of those Jesus appointed to be his close disciples, there are some names that we don’t hear of other than in the Gospels and Acts. It is also clear that the twelve disciples were a mixed bunch of individuals, mostly made up of fishermen, with a tax collector and a Zealot thrown in.
We might be tempted to question Jesus’ decision-making in choosing these twelve from all those he might have called. Did he not know that Peter would deny him, Thomas would doubt him and Judas Iscariot would betray him? Had he not realised that the disciples would desert him enmasse after his arrest? The answer is ‘of course he did!’ The disciples Jesus chose were not randomly selected, they were each chosen for a purpose.
The same is exactly true of the church today. The church is made up of a diverse group of individuals, whom God has called to be the ‘bride of Christ’ and to serve him in sharing the good news of the gospel in a needy world.
When Paul said: Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth (1 Corinthians 1:26), he was not trying to insult them. He was, however, showing them that the church is made up of people from different backgrounds and abilities. The members of a church are not united because of some social, cultutral or educational identity, but because they have been chosen by God to serve him. Paul reinforces the idea of the diversity of the church when he speaks of the body later in his first letter to the believers in Corinth. He says: Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. And so the body is not made up of one part but of many (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).
Don’t ever think that the mix of people that make up your church fellowship are there by chance. You are not there by chance either. God leaves nothing to chance in fulfilling his master plan of salvation. Paul makes this point when he says: But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be (1 Corinthians 12:18).
Pray: Father, we thank you for the mix of people that make up your church worldwide. We see this mix of individuals from many backgrounds being repeated within denominations and local churches and we praise you for it. May each of us willingly utilise the gifts you have given us in your service. Amen