Gideon Banda noted recently that even Christians want to be servant leaders – with the emphasis on leader.
What if we never have the number one spot in a company or organisation or church? What if we always play second fiddle? Not in the limelight. Our name unknown. Are we happy with that? Are we content to be loyal. To be in the background. Not building our own kingdom or career or our pushing our own agenda but serving loyally as a foot soldier with the glory genuinely all going to Commanding Officer Jesus?
John Bloom, president of Desiring God, writes on serving in the shadows…
“Andrew. Oh! You’re Simon Peter’s brother, aren’t you?”
Andrew must have gotten used to that. Even the New Testament introduces him as “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother” (John 1:40). Peter’s shadow is cast over Andrew from the beginning.
Andrew is mentioned by name 12 times in the New Testament. In ten of those he’s named along with Peter, and usually as Peter’s brother. Peter, on the other hand, has over 150 mentions, and actually contributed to the New Testament.
It’s interesting to note that Andrew had the more impressive résumé to begin with. He had been a disciple of John the Baptist. Not only that, but he was one of Jesus’ very first disciples (John 1:35-40). In fact, it was Andrew who went and “found his own brother Simon” and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41-42).
Yet even at this very first meeting it became clear that Jesus had plans concerning Simon that were different from Andrew. Before Simon had said or done anything, Jesus gave him his new name of Cephas (Peter), the rock.
Peter was God’s “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that [he] should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). We know many of these good works because God gives them a lot of press.
But Andrew was equally God’s workmanship. He too was created in Christ Jesus for good works that God had prepared beforehand. It’s just that God chose not to give Andrew’s works the same prominence he gave Peter’s. And so Andrew served in Peter’s shadow.
But Andrew had a great shadow-servant mentor in John the Baptist. Andrew had learned from John that “a person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven” (John 3:27). John had seen Jesus’ rise and his own decline in prominence and said with joy-filled faith, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
[Read the rest of this article (reprinted by kind permission of Desiring God) in Conversation Magazine issue 2.]