When we last visited, you had a chance to gain a little more insight into WHO the Apostles actually were – as people. And, we left you with a little “teaser” about how their individual characteristics may actually relate to YOU! So, let me ask you… are you a “Matthew,” “Mark,” “Luke” or “John”?
Believe it or not, you have a LOT more in common with these long-ago biblical folks than you probably ever imagined! Just as these fellows brought their own experiences and perspectives, so do we. Remember those blind men and the elephant? We highlighted exactly how each person’s decisions, viewpoint and actions are motivated by everything that has EVER touched their lives.
So, let’s see “who” you are! Matthew, the “bottom-line” numbers guy? Mark, the enthusiastic, spontaneous teenager? Luke, the very model of compassion? Or maybe, John… the cover-all-your-bases, only-the-best-for-me, die hard follower?
Put in those terms, it should be a lot easier to find yourself among the Apostles! See, throughout the entire recorded history of time, one thing holds true: People are people – regardless of when they lived. And each brings a unique perspective to any, and every, situation.
Now let’s revisit that “loaves and fishes” account, again. While the story EACH tells remains essentially the same, you can clearly see their individual personalities shine through. Similarly, YOUR circumstances color your viewpoint and reactions in any situation!
Can’t you just see Matthew, carefully calculating budgets, eternally watching the bottom line for his group? Are YOU the “budget” person in your circle? You know, the one who can instantly calculate any tip, knows your exact account balances and focuses on making sure all the essentials get covered. We ALL need – or want to be – a “Matthew!”
Now, think of that person who sheds a tear at every orphan, rescue pet or, even sentimental, commercial and probably openly supports and champions “underdog” causes – even if these haven’t touched their lives personally. These people have tender hearts and habitually think of others before themselves… and there’s your “Luke!”
The next will definitely be someone any parent or adult who has ever spent any time around “tweens and teens” can readily recognize! Let’s face it, “impulse control” and “even-keel” will probably NOT be the first descriptions leaping to mind, when characterizing this age group. They see the world through lenses of varying colors and will leap first, then ask questions LATER… if at all! But we quickly overlook this, in the face of their boundless enthusiasm and genuine joy – and Mark was no exception. And you don’t have to be or even know a teenage, to find a “Mark.” It’s not an age thing, it’s a personal outlook and mindset. Having a “Mark” in your life guarantees more fun, adventures, surprises and pure joy. Who doesn’t need THAT?!?
And, finally, we come to John the Beloved. He’s a detail-oriented guy, making sure everything is “just right” and when it comes to his beliefs or convictions, they’re – beyond a doubt – THE BEST. He was even confident enough to publish well-after his colleagues… knowing his contributions would be crucial to the overall product. AND, virtually every “John” is RIGHT!
Okay, now you’ve got these four guys with you, going out for dinner. You count on Matthew to figure out when and where you’re dining, split the tab and figure who owes what… along with tax and tip. Meanwhile, Luke’s making sure everyone has plenty to eat and enjoying their meal. Mark bounces around the table, bringing the fun and entertainment – and wholly unconcerned with the logistics of reservations, ordering or paying the bill. Now, round out your dinner party with John, who makes those menu recommendations everyone waits to hear and will know the restaurant star rating, along with the name of the maître’d and head chef.
For Matthew, it’s all about the cost. Luke, the people. Mark, the fun. John, the quality. So which one are YOU? Now – before you answer this – realize we’re ALL a little bit of each, and each has both strengths and weakness… we ARE human, after all!
However, also take into account, while John and Matthew might be perfectly comfortable with a five-star, haute cuisine restaurant, Luke would worry whether everyone could afford or would have the proper attire for such an upscale venue. And, fun-guy Mark probably wouldn’t have either the money, clothes or maybe even transportation, for such a night out – preventing him from even joining the group!
With this in mind, let’s visit that hillside dinner for 5000 one more time… viewing it through our individual “personality lens” and how it relates to the idea of “provision.” See, these guys were just like us! Each saw the situation differently.
For some of us, taking care of our own home and family takes top priority, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else. For others, our sense of charity may outweigh other considerations – even practicality. Some give freely, because they have plenty to spare and others give impulsively, based on a spontaneous emotional response. Each gives according to THEIR needs, abilities and… yes, you just KNEW this was coming, their individual PERSPECTIVES.
Jesus understood this idea, as he explained it to his Apostles:
“And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.'” (Mark 12: 41-44)
We ALL give differently! As you struggle to keep a roof over your head and food on the table, that $5 you give represents a fortune in His eyes… and here, at King’s Ransom! And those who can afford to write five-and-six-figure checks, will always represent hope for those it benefits. Each according to their own means and heart!
And YOU, with your own means, personality and perspective, continue to touch hearts and lives through your contributions to our work at King’s Ransom. It’s been quite a scenic route, from blind men and elephants to dinner with a few friends, and we appreciate you taking it with us… and thank you for being one of OUR Apostles!