What God Can Accomplish With Our Yes

In today’s Gospel, Jesus summonses his twelve disciples, gives them authority over unclean spirits and the ability to cure illness and disease, and sends them out in his name.  He instructs them to go to the lost sheep of Israel to proclaim that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew’s account names the disiples and the first thing that struck me in reflecting on this passage is who Jesus calls to go forth in his name.

When I’m called by God, sometimes I respond wholeheartedly, but other times I feel like Travis Bickle, the Robert DiNiro character in the old film, Taxi Driver, and want to say, “Me? You talking to me?”  I think, do you really want to rely on me for this, Lord.  Surely there are others better suited than I am.

At those time, I find this passage with the naming of the twelve more than a little comforting.  When you think about it, this was a pretty motley crew; these were hardly the cream of the crop of the neighborhood.  Fishermen.  Tax collectors.  Peter, who seems to blow it time and time again.  James and John, who remind my of my siblings and I as children, fighting over who got to sit in the front of the car on a trip where my mother was not occupying that seat; they seem to spend most of their time worrying about how close they will be to the front of the line when all was said and done.  Andrew, who takes off at the first sign of trouble.  

Pretty unimpressive bunch.  Except for one thing.  Jesus called and they said yes.  And that was enough for God.  Enough to God to use them.   God writes straight with crooked lines goes the expression.  Read the Acts of the Apostles and you get a sense of how much God accomplished with his Spirit working through these disciples.

And so I think, well, Lord, if you could work with them, perhaps you can work with me, with my failings and my limitations.  I take comfort in the fact that our yes is enough for God to work with.  I glance at the plaque on the wall at the entrance of my study that reads, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  And I sing in praise the line in Ephesians: “Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”