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The Perfect Candidate
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Photo: Carole Nickerson
For those of us living in the United States, the presidential election has grabbed a lot of our attention this year. Like every election that I can remember, it has had its share of negative comments thrown back and forth among the candidates.

It seems that every aspect of a candidate’s life is open to the inspection of his fellow candidates and the public. Who has the most experience? Who is the most qualified? Who are their associates? What skeletons might be lurking in their closets? The candidate’s words, facial expressions and body language are scrutinized. There is very little that is not dissected and examined.

Jesus chose the disciples to be the leaders of His church. I find it intriguing to think about how the disciples would fare if they were running for office today.
 
There are James and John, Sons of Thunder, Jesus called them—quick to resort to violence when offended. They weren’t above using their mother to covertly try to gain the top positions in what they hoped was the emerging political power.

Then there’s Peter. Peter—the impetuous, never-know-what-he’s-going-to-say kind of guy, brave and confident on the surface, but not to be counted on in an emergency.  He's a fair weather friend some would say. 

Levi Matthew—now there’s a guy who can’t afford too much digging into his past. Shady business dealings as well as associates are just a few of the skeletons in his closet.

Thomas, known for his pessimism and doubting—prone to distrust even his friends.

Nathanael seems to be a pretty good guy, but his prejudice toward those from certain parts of the country would be sure to offend many.

To all outward appearances, they were a motley group of rough, unqualified candidates to lead the young church after Jesus’ return to heaven. They weren’t qualified. It’s just that plain and simple. So why did Jesus choose them?

Willingness to Follow

I believe the answer to that question is found, not in the men themselves, but in Jesus Himself. Jesus came to each of them with the call, “Follow Me.” (Matthew 4:19, 9:9, John 1:43).  And they followed, and in spite of faulty character traits and their many mistakes, Jesus stuck with them and they kept following. Their only qualification that mattered was their willingness to follow Jesus’ call. As they followed, they were changed into courageous, faithful men who Jesus used to take the gospel to the world.

Are you frustrated with your tendency to say the wrong thing at the wrong time? Is your faith weak? Does your temper get the best of you sometimes? Are there things in your past that leave you feeling discouraged? Deep down, do you know your motives aren’t always pure? Is there prejudice in your heart that even you don’t want to admit is there? Have you let others down when it counted most?

It has been said that “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” I find that extremely encouraging! Just like the disciples, our qualifications may seem pitifully few, but like them, Jesus can take our willingness to follow Him and transform us into the perfect candidates to make a difference for Him!

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By Leslie Olin. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.


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