"Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother." - Matthew 10:2
Leonard Bernstein, the great composer and conductor, was once asked this important question: “Which instrument is the most difficult to play?”
Bernstein answered, “The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm—that’s a problem. And if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony.”
A CHALLENGING POSITION
If you are competitive, as I am, playing second fiddle is indeed a difficult, challenging position. There is within many of us a quest to be the best. We think second fiddle is for losers, and we won’t be happy until we are first. Hmm.
The twelve apostles had this same problem. In fact, they had an argument concerning which one of them was the greatest (see Luke 9:46). Jesus no doubt groaned within Himself as He observed their pride and selfish ambition. He told them that true greatness is not measured in lofty stature but in humble service. The greatest is the least of all. The greatest is the one who gratefully and enthusiastically plays the second fiddle so that sweet harmony can ensue.
Andrew was one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. He was the brother of the famous disciple, Simon Peter. Without question, Andrew played second fiddle to his brother. While much time and space is given to Peter in the New Testament, little is said about Andrew. Yet Andrew was a very great man. We can learn a lot about this “little” disciple.
1. Andrew was not bitter about playing second fiddle to Peter. Andrew loved his brother Peter. In fact, it was Andrew who introduced Peter to Jesus (see John 1:41). Andrew knew he was not in competition with his brother. His goal was not to be the best, but to do his best and fulfill the role and plan God had for him. As long as he pleased his Master, he knew he was pleasing … even if he wasn’t first chair. Remember this important truth: your ultimate job on earth is to please the Lord. If He calls you to do a job that lacks glamour or fanfare, if He calls you to play second fiddle at work or at church or on the team or in the classroom, will you do it … and do it with joy and gratitude, desiring only to please Him? Andrew did.
2. Andrew had sensitivity to the little things. Nothing big or earthshaking is ever attributed to Andrew, only little things. It was Andrew who saw the little boy with the little lunch--five loaves and two fish. It was Andrew who brought that “little” to Jesus. As the song says, “Little becomes much as you place it in the Master’s hand.” Don’t overlook the little things, the small things in your life. God delights in using things that we consider too small, too insignificant to be used. Zechariah 4:10 tells us, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Elijah earnestly prayed for rain to end the severe drought in Israel. His prayer only produced a rain cloud no bigger than a man’s hand. Yet it was this little cloud that was going to bring life-giving rain to the needy people of Israel. And Elijah knew it. Don’t despise the little things.
3. Andrew was faithful until death. We remember Peter for his leadership among the twelve, his bold sermon at Pentecost, and his greatness in the early church … but we also remember Peter for his three denials. In the Lord’s greatest hour of need, his closest disciple tragically denied that he even knew Him. However, no record of denial is ever attributed to Andrew. In fact, tradition tells us he was crucified for his faith in Christ near Athens. He hung on an “X-shaped” cross for two days, exhorting passersby to turn to Jesus. He was faithful until death!
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Perhaps you are frustrated today because you feel passed up and passed over in life. Perhaps you are jealous of a sibling, a teammate, a co-worker, or a friend. Perhaps you are wondering when it will be your turn for a day in the sun. Let it go! Learn from Andrew how to be content, grateful, and faithful playing second fiddle. Determine to do your best, not to be the best. Remember that life’s greatest discovery is knowing the will of God, and life’s greatest fulfillment is doing the will of God. Do what He has called you to do, all for His glory. You will be so glad you did. And in the end, you will hear Him say, “Well done, My good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Master.”
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
P.S. I would love to hear your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Schreve founded From His Heart Ministries, www.fromhisheart.org, in 2005 with the vision to reach as many people as possible with the good news of God's love. Jeff believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a great plan just for you. He broadcast on radio, TV and in the internet around the world from his pulpit ministry as Pastor of First Baptist in Texarkana, Texas. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.
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