by Mike Breaux
Editor’s Note: In preparation for the 2011 North American Christian Convention, Standard Publishing recently released Unleashed: The Church Turning the World Upside Down, compiled by 2011 NACC president Dudley Rutherford. The contributors to the book are the main speakers at this year’s convention. We’ve chosen to excerpt here portions of the chapter written by Mike Breaux titled “Pandemonium.”
I once heard someone say, “Boredom is the desire for desires.” Every time the disciples heard Jesus speak or sat in the boat and had a discussion about the things their friends had heard him say, desire stirred within them.
It was Andrew who first got all stirred up about Jesus. John the Baptist had spoken about Jesus’ baptism and the accompanying signs that pointed to him as the Messiah. As Jesus walked by, John shouted, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
The day after this, Andrew and another guy were there with John the Baptist. They ended up hanging out with Jesus all day until around 4:00 PM. The first thing Andrew did was tell his brother Peter he had found the Messiah. Word began to spread and desire began to stir among the fishermen. They didn’t know it yet, but their lives were about to move from boredom to pandemonium.
Drawn to Jesus
Sometimes we forget these guys could have been young, possibly 17 to 19 years old. They were up for a little passion, a little adventure. They had been intrigued and impressed with Jesus for a while. Never had they heard anyone say the kinds of things he said. Never had they heard anyone teach like that. He was nothing like the pious religious leaders they had grown up listening to. The leaders they had been accustomed to had tampered with the pure message of the Scripture. And on top of that, they made following God sound . . . well, boring! But Jesus made it sound like an adventure of faith and passion and purpose. He even said things like, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20).
I would bet that when Peter heard things like that, he probably thought, That’s the feeling I’ve always had too! There’s got to be more than keeping a bunch of man-made rules. Life has to be more than this. Now I know that I would never be chosen to follow a rabbi. I’ve been picked over all my life. I know I’m just an unschooled, blue-collar fisherman. But I’m telling you, if I ever got the chance to hang out with a guy like that, I’d do it.
We don’t know exactly how much prior exposure these fishermen had to Jesus, but it was enough to spark their curiosity. Enough to stir some hope in them. Enough to make them dream. Enough to make them lay down their nets and follow him.
Chosen by God
So let me ask you, “Are you bored?” Well, there’s an app for that. Jesus says, “Follow me!” (John 1:43).
If anyone has ever been worthy of being followed, it is Jesus. Even many secular leadership gurus agree that Jesus of Nazareth was an amazing leader. Jesus fleshed out various great leadership principles, but one of the things I most appreciate is the way Jesus was able to see potential in people when no one else did.
Face it; no one would have chosen those fishermen. But Jesus had a way of looking deeper. And still today, he has a way of seeing a person’s potential greatness, greatness a person can’t even see in himself.
In the mining process, several tons of dirt are often moved to get an ounce of gold. But no one goes in looking for the dirt; they go in looking for gold. While good leaders certainly don’t go in with blinders on, they don’t focus solely on people’s flaws, imperfections, and blemishes. They try to see what God sees in a person. They look deeper for the “gold.” They try to imagine what that person could become. I want that set of eyes, don’t you?
Have you ever browsed through a clearance rack and seen the label “slightly imperfect”? Unless there is a huge hole in the front of a shirt or something, we usually find that we’re getting a pretty good deal. But when it comes to choosing people, we have a tendency to look for—and expect—a flawless specimen.
Have you ever said (or thought) something like this?
“She’s really nice. She’s cute and kind, and she loves God. But I don’t know about dating her. Her laugh is kind of goofy.”
“He’s a super nice guy and he has a wonderful personality. He’s funny and has a great heart, but I’m looking for a guy with really tight abs.”
“Yeah, I know my son is a terrific kid, but he’s so terrible at soccer.”
“Oh, I know she got four As, but that one B . . . .”
“My husband is an awesome dad, he’s warm and friendly, he’s even romantic. I just wish he made more money.”
“Yeah, my wife is a great mom and a wonderful friend, but since she’s put on all that weight . . . .”
Listen, we’re all slightly imperfect. We’re all clearance rack material!
We’ve got to learn to look at each other through the eyes of Jesus, who sees great potential in all of us.
God has always seen more than meets the eye.
David was too young.
Abraham was too old.
Solomon was too rich.
Naomi was too poor.
Jonah ran from God.
Noah got drunk.
Timothy got ulcers.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Elijah burned out.
Martha worried too much.
Peter bragged too much.
John the Baptist was just flat-out weird!
But God saw potential in them that no one else saw, and he used their lives for eternal purposes. Man, if I could only learn to look at others the way Jesus looks at them!
Can you imagine how those first disciples felt when Jesus chose them? Essentially, he drafted them as “lottery picks.”
Long before he laid down the earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son (Ephesians 1:4-6, The Message).
Man, what a feeling to be chosen. To hear our Creator whisper to ragged, picked-over people like us, “I love you. I choose you. I’ve always wanted you to be my son, my daughter. Follow me.”
Making a Difference
When you are chosen it makes you feel like a contributor, like a player, doesn’t it? You begin to think, They really want what I can bring. They actually think I could add some value here. They must believe I could help make this team/this company/this ministry/this family better. They want me. They chose me.
When I am chosen, it means somebody wants me. I am desired. I am loved. I belong. But whether other people choose me or not—and regardless of my past and my imperfections—somebody wants me! And that same somebody wants you. You are the focus of his love. He sees amazing potential in you!
First Peter 2:9 says,
You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
Did you notice who wrote that? A former fisherman! A guy who was chosen. A guy who moved from boredom to pandemonium in ways he never dreamed he would. All because this great leader, Jesus, saw potential in him, chose him, and instilled in him that he had something meaningful to contribute.
A Great Adventure
Every one of the disciples knew they had been chosen by Jesus. They just had no way of knowing the magnitude of that choice. They had no idea the adventures they would be a part of. They never imagined the mouth-dropping, awe-inspiring things they would see and hear, write about, and speak about. They had no idea the countless lives their lives would touch. They had no idea the pandemonium they would cause. They just knew they were desired. Jesus said, “Follow me.” And they did.
You Are Chosen
• Do you often feel as if you’ve been specifically chosen by God? When you are reminded of this, how do you react?
• How can you allow God to use you despite your flaws?
• How can reminding yourself of your chosen status help you live a more unleashed life of faith and trust in God?
• Memorize 1 Peter 2:9 and live it out!