The Gospels – Investing
Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor. Luke 6:12-16 NKJV
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ was, at the same time, fully God and fully man. He was exactly like any other man in human, fleshly, terms of skin, and bones, and blood. He walked, He sweat, He felt the heat of the sun and the pressures of life, just like the rest of us. And He prayed. Jesus was a man of prayer and regularly set off by Himself to spend time within prayerful communion with the Father.
This was how He spent the night before appointing the apostles. He prayed all night long. The appointment of the disciples to be His closest followers, those into whom He would pour His very heart, was an integral part of His earthly ministry and one of the primary reasons the church survived the first century. So He entered into the decision prayerfully and very intentionally.
He called them apostles which means “sent,” that is, someone who is “sent” as an ambassador, to help those he is reaching actually put into practice the things taught. He is more than a messenger, he is an example in life and faith, piety and integrity, of the teachings and spirit of the one who sent him.
Jesus called the twelve to be with Him, and they were, literally living together, working side-by-side, and learning from Jesus for over two years. He poured His life into the twelve, leading them and praying for them right up until the crucifixion and then, again, ministering to them personally and instructively after His resurrection. And the apostles took the banner of Christ and selflessly moved forward in mission, introducing and establishing the message of Jesus throughout the world.
As a group, the men were regular people. There were fishermen, a tax collector, and a few that literally nothing much is known about other than their name. They were special, though, in character, and Jesus could tell they would be true to what He invested in them, without taking credit, or changing the message, or getting in the way of God in any way, as the Holy Spirit would build the church through the ages. Jesus was the cornerstone and He was selecting the living stones that would form the rest of the foundation of the church.
And He poured His life into them.
Think of all the other things Jesus could have invested in. He could have built wealth that made King Solomon and modern billionaires look like paupers. He could have built structures that surpassed the grandeur of the Babylonians, Incan's, and the Egyptian's combined. But He didn't. Jesus invested in people, not things.
I wonder if any of us are this intentional about investing in others. We do a pretty good job investing in ourselves, in finances, and in buildings. Are we investing enough in people? For Jesus, the future was in people, they were His priority. So He prayed all night long. Then chose twelve. And in their lives, He invested everything.
Maybe we should revisit our priorities for life. Are we trying to gain an advantage over others, or are we putting them first, seeking their best, investing truth, grace and the unfailing love of God into their lives? And then, how about those carefully chosen few, our children, spouses, maybe someone we mentor, that we can truly invest in. People who will take the message Jesus has planted in our souls and ingest it, become His ambassador, and go forward to change the world.
“Father, let me see people differently today. Let me pour goodness and love into them and elevate them, not for my gain, Lord, but so they can receive a good example and become more fully devoted ambassadors for Christ. And then, Father, help me more intentionally invest my life into a few, so they can receive the banner you’ve invested with me, and, in their lives, plant it higher on the mountain for Your glory.”