It was a moment of truth. You know what I’m talking about; moments in your life that really reveal your inner character. That’s where I was, and I failed! It took me a long time to admit it, but when I finally did, it was like a huge weight fell off my shoulders.
Our choices, our interests, our focus, reveals important information about who we are. Our priorities tell us vital information about ourselves. Information we ignore to our own peril. They tell us whether our priorities are misplaced, out of order, or even destructive to our lives, but that information is absolutely necessary if I am ever going to be “awake” to who I really am and just where I need God’s grace and my effort to reorient my priorities toward better living and purposeful Faith.
Look at our lesson today in Luke 6:12-19:
At that time, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles; Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaios, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came forth from him and healed them all.
The Lord is choosing the men who would form the nucleus of the leadership for the Church. Just as Moses went up to the mountain to receive the Law, just as Israel had 12 patriarchs who formed the nation, so the Lord goes up to the mountain to prepare to choose 12 Apostles who will be His chosen leaders to move from an ethnic view of the people of God to the “spiritual Israel” that will continue His work in the earth after His resurrection and Ascension. Christ is instituting His “new nation” formed to reach the world. And we see this clearly as He named these 12 “Apostles” which means “sent ones.” Not “sit ones” or “think ones” or even “good ones” but men who are sent on a mission to accomplish a task! Ain’t a whole lot of sitting around going on here!
And today is the Feast day of St. Simon the Zealot. He was a radical Jew before his conversion fighting to liberate his homeland of the occupying forces of the Romans. Now, he is an Apostle that gives his life in service to Jesus Christ. Some have suggested it was Simon’s wedding that the Lord attended in Canaan and where He did His first miracle with water into wine. Simon’s life was radically reoriented in his encounter and relationship with Jesus. His priorities were totally transformed. Now, instead of liberating by violence a political ideology, he preaches a message of spiritual liberty for everyone, even the Romans he once hated!
Today, what do your priorities say about you? Are you aware of your own purpose and “mission” as a follower of Jesus Christ? Where does that mission fall in your list of priorities? I pray you are able to stop, even for a moment, and do an inventory of your priorities and seek out just where your faith falls in that list. Perhaps it’s time for your faith to move up a few spots! Perhaps it’s time to be Orthodox on Purpose!