Last night, I spent a couple of hours with a group of men. We braved the 8 degree weather to invest in each other. We talked about life, faith, and our places in this world.
We began the night focused on one question: If 2015 had been the year Jesus chose His special group of 12 followers (disciples), would we be the kind of men He would have chosen?
Of course, each of us initially said, "No way." We pointed to our faults, failures, quirks, and lack of gifts, to support our reasoning. These shortcomings would certainly disqualify us from consideration.
Then, we looked into the Bible and found a stubborn, act first-think second guy like Peter. A jealous and overly emotional John. A lying, cheating, money hungry man named Matthew who came with a terrible reputation. And the list goes on.
Most uf us live each day with the belief that we are second class followers of Jesus. That Jesus tolerates our presence but would never have had-picked us. That is a lie.
When Jesus chose the 12 men that He chose, among other things, Jesus was giving all of us permission to be ourselves. To follow Him while working on our character flaws. To follow Him without understanding everything in the Bible. To follow Him in spite of our emotional baggage. To follow Him even if we never do anything memorable.
Back to the list.
There were two disciples named James. One was in Jesus' inner circle of three men. He was one of the "sons of thunder." He is remembered.
The other James is...just James. In fact, he is so forgettable that in order to distinguish the two, historians nicknamed him "James the Less." As in, less than the other James!
Sometimes that's how I feel. Chad the Less.
Maybe you feel that way too. You're not special enough for Jesus to have chosen. You'll never do anything memorable. In comparison to everyone else, you are...well...less.
But Jesus chose you. You have a purpose and a destiny. You have unlimited potential.
So on behalf of average people everywhere, let me thank James the Less, Thaddaeus, Bartholemew, and Simon (not Simon Peter...just plain Simon), for giving us permission to follow.
Flaws and all.