The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” Philip was from Bethsaida, Andrew and Peter’s hometown. (John 1:43-44)
Read: Job 35:1 – 37:24
Relate: Peter, James, and John. Those are the three disciples who are always in the limelight. Andrew might sometimes make that list because he’s Peter’s brother and he rounds out the four famous fishermen Jesus called. Thomas gets it rough. Everybody thinks that Thomas is actually his last name and that his first name is “Doubting”. One dumb choice gets him bum luck even though he was the one, when all the rest were afraid to go to Judea, who spoke up and said, “Let’s go with Him [Jesus], even if it means to our deaths.” Big statement of faith for one who earned such a downer nickname. Then, of course we have Judas. In most people’s eyes he ranks right down there with the devil himself.
Philip? He is an unsung hero. I have a feeling Philip was into logistics. When Jesus asked about buying bread before feeding the five thousand, it was to Philip that He posed His question. When some Greeks wanted to see Jesus, it was Philip they approached first. When Jesus says, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” Philip responds pragmatically, “Show us.” Philip was the only one of the twelve who pulled double duty and helped run the food program when the church was growing in Acts. Peter was the first apostle to do a short term mission’s trip, but Philip was the first one to commit long term. Finally, the longest running church in history traces it’s lineage all the way back to Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch. If ever there was an unsung hero in the Christian faith, it was Philip.
React: When Andrew and the other disciple first follow Jesus he says to them, “Come and see.” They sought Him out and Jesus permitted it. The first person in any of the gospels that Jesus seeks out and issues those famous words, “follow me” was Philip. Jesus first made that special invitation to one who would not be famous. He made it to one who would not need the limelight. He made it to one who, in my opinion, was a pragmatist, an administrator (definitely not my gifting). Ultimately he made it to one who would be incredibly faithful.
Do I need the limelight? Am I one who must always get the credit? When I say something, or do something, or write something, do I have to make sure my name is on it? Must I always have the glory, or am I willing to focus instead on the results? Am I a picture, turning everyone’s attention my way, or am I a window, helping them focus on what is beyond?
God, help me to be more like Philip. Help me to be faithful in following You even if that means nobody will know my name. Help me to be faithful even if somebody else gets the credit. Help me to be faithful no matter what might come my way… even if it is nothing. Because I know, Lord, that You know my Name. I know that You see me. Let the only praise I long to hear be, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”