SHOWCASING THE FORTITUDE OF GOD’S CHOSEN VESSELS
Why did the Lord choose physically strong, tough-minded men, most of whom were hard-working blue collar workers, as His first apostles? For starters, because that’s exactly what He is.
WILDERNESS WILD MAN
When the messengers of John had left, He began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who are splendidly clothed and live in luxury are found in royal palaces! But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and one who is more than a prophet…” [Luke 7:24-26]
Many years ago I was talking to a guy at church. It was a great place with a mix of many different people and professions. We somehow got on the subject of being impressed by our dads when we were kids and he recounted a short story about his father. He said his dad, who was much older then, had been a plumber. As an illustration of his dad’s imposing stature and physical strength, he remembered as a young man that his dad once picked up a standard bathroom scale, the kind you stand on, and holding it with both hands, fingers at the back and thumbs on top, squeezed it until the needle went all the way to the end. I thought that was really impressive.
On bathroom scales, back then at least, “all the way to the end” was 250 pounds. That was pretty heavy and any man who had the strength in his hands to duplicate that weight was exceptionally strong. Also, men were generally tougher and leaner then, and more active, and topping the chart at 250 was relatively rare. Today, most men who exceed that figure are generally carrying excess weight. If they got down to their proper weight and body mass index most of them would be like men of fifty years ago.
Naturally, after hearing that story about my friend’s dad, I had to try it out when I got home. Being only of average stature but making my living in construction, I thought I could make a pretty good dent in my bathroom scale. So I went for it. Using all my manly might, I squeezed the life out of it. If I remember correctly, I didn’t come anywhere close to 250. I didn’t even break 200. It was pretty demoralizing. Of course, converting that figure to future considerations, using the principle of “the older I get the better I was,” it actually was 200. But still not close to 250. I obviously did well by becoming a carpenter and not a plumber.
PHYSICAL STRENGTH DOES NOT DEFINE TOUGHNESS
When I was twelve years old I discovered professional sports. I loved baseball and football and began reading the sports pages every day in our local newspaper. Papers back then in smaller markets were really bad compared to what came later. The type was tiny and all the columns were squashed together. Box scores had the smallest type they made, I would think. The writing was mostly pedestrian. Everything was black and white with no color. It was all I had until I started subscribing to sports magazines not long after. I also began collecting baseball and football cards. Those cards had the height and weight of players. Regarding football players, the biggest guys, usually the defensive lineman, topped out at 270 pounds. Of course, most of them were also pretty tall, averaging maybe 6 foot five or six. When you look at old NFL films from the 1960s, you won’t see many fat guys. Most of them were lean, wiry, tough, and cat quick. There were also a lot of average-sized players under six feet tall. A few were actually pretty small.
The game of football was also much different back then. It was war. They didn’t mess around. It was an extremely tough sport in the professional ranks and they often played on dirt fields and wore poor protective equipment in comparison to later standards. It was also a job and players needed the money. They would often stay silent on whatever injuries they might have incurred so as not to jeopardize their place on the field or team. Someone always waited in the wings to replace you, so you had to be tough. The game was hard enough but playing injured, which almost all of them did to varying extents, made it that much tougher. And no one could afford any sympathy, for many reasons.
In this cauldron, however, arose an even tougher kind of man, one who made most of the other players look like less than the men they were. This wasn’t true; they were all tough as nails. But some exceeded that standard and a few obliterated it. They were tough as, what? Steel girders? What a sight it was to see some otherwise tough guy, much tougher than the average man, look like a comparative pansy being showed up and manhandled by the baddest of the bad.
“GOD HAS ALWAYS LOVED FISHERMEN AND JAILBIRDS”
The preceding was a quote by a preacher I once knew. He had a rough upbringing, coming of age in the 1950s. He got tougher as he got older and soon became engaged in all the bad stuff that guys like him got into. He was a really tough guy and a good fighter, was a biker and drug addict, and generally had no concern for anyone. Beneath all of that, implausible as it sounds, he still had a tender side. He told a story of the JFK assassination, when so many Americans were cheering his death. He said when he found out he began crying like a baby.
Somehow or another, against all odds and probability, this man later received a witness from a brave Christian and actually gave his heart to the Lord. I know. It makes no sense. It makes you wonder about all the evil people in the world at present. How many of them are this guy waiting to get saved? How many are the apostle Paul who was notorious for being a powerful persecutor of Christians before His Damascus Road experience? How many are Simon son of Jonah, otherwise known as Peter—the rock? Speaking of which, I’m convinced that prior to his conversion nobody messed with Peter.
Regarding my preacher acquaintance, he soon started his own storefront. He gathered a small group of faithful congregants and conducted services. While preaching one day, a big giant dude burst into the room. It seems this man was really ticked off because his wife had become a member of the congregation. The guy marched to the front and told the preacher he was gonna whip him, right then and there. What did the preacher do? Drawing on his past and knowing this man did not scare him in the least, but also knowing he had a duty to the Lord and must act properly, he looked right into the big dude’s eyes and said: “Look. I think I have enough Holy Ghost to let you whip me, but if I don’t, you’re in trouble buddy. I’ve gone through bigger men than you just to get into where the fight was at!” The big guy backed down. And that was that.
REAL MEN OF GOD
So what does the average Christian think of when he or she thinks of the original apostles? This depends on one’s denomination, of course, but sadly, because so many have been told nothing but mischaracterizations by moron church leaders, most probably think the apostles were “saintly” pushovers. And how is this derived? Most likely because many Christians have been taught that the Lord Jesus was a “saintly” pushover, a pallid sissified non-man representing no threat to anybody. It is anyone’s guess how this false depiction arose, the very opposite of His actual character. We can blame it on old artist’s renderings or maybe a severely unbalanced portrayal using various verses of Scripture showcasing the Lord’s mercy and love but neglecting His unquestioned manliness in the face of vile enemies. But it is most likely due to the affected nature of later ecclesiastics who actually fit that profile quite well, because that is pretty much exactly how they were. And many still are. And this false portrayal of the Lord has invaded many denominations and caused many pastors to invoke it in their “imitation of Christ.”
My preacher friend could have cleaned that guy’s clock. It didn’t matter how big he was. But he didn’t. He could have but he didn’t. He was more concerned about the man’s salvation. That’s the point. It was the same with a guy like Peter. There was a reason the Lord chose him and it was the same reason the other apostles recognized Peter’s authority and standing. Most of them knew Peter and his past. And the apostle Paul, who was not even five feet tall, might have been even tougher. Could those guys have played in the NFL? If they were any good at football, I would answer in the affirmative. They had the heart and toughness for it. And it’s a good thing because they had to fight the devil and his minions every day. Their real strength, however, the one that made the difference, was their ability to take a punch and not return favor. They knew full well that people were not the enemy.
Sadly, many of today’s ministers couldn’t have done what my old preacher friend did even if they wanted to because they don’t have a blue collar bone in their body. They aren’t tough enough. Real Christians do their best to maintain their witness and hold back. But when a man has nothing to hold back it’s a different story.
WILL THE LOCKDOWN PASTORS EVER OPEN THEIR CHURCHES?
Probably not until they’re allowed to. Maybe a few courageous ones will in the interim. I read yesterday that one well-known church leader in California, where a statewide total church lockdown is in effect including home bible studies and everything else, has taken a stand. Good for him. What took you so long? But on the other hand, I take that back. Pastors must be given a pass the first time around. This nonsense had never been tried before. It came out of left field. Who could have ever thought they would use a flu virus in an attempt to eliminate Christianity? Most were unprepared for such an attack and never saw it coming. Maybe the devil knew many were no threat, would wimp out, and could be had for the taking. But once is it. If a church leader has yet to figure out what’s really going on, then maybe it’s best to just stay closed and quit. Forget about taking a stand. Concentrate instead on getting saved.
If such pastors/reverends/priests et al were actually living for God they would certainly take a stand and basically say: To hell with this. Come one come all. WE’RE OPEN. If every pastor did it all the churches would be opened immediately. No one could stop them. That’s not going to happen, of course. The sad fact is that one could never gather enough churches together in a united front on a large enough scale, which shows one more broken aspect of current American Christianity. Why can’t the high hats in a single denomination, for example, especially the very large “united” kind, just send down a directive to open up?
But even if a mere Gideon’s 300 took a stand things would change for the better. Those were the best warriors in all of Israel. Another thing that would change, however, would be the enemy. The principle enemy would switch from the Midianite lockdown state governors to the Midianite lockdown pansy pastors who would suddenly begin attacking the stalwart 2020 Black Robe Regiment like the original tory traitors did in colonial America. As it is they’ve already revealed themselves as unworthy of the call of God, though many are not actually called of God to begin with and are simply filling a position.
Most of them also don’t have the Holy Ghost. This is being proven every day.
Which makes one wonder, is this entire virus nonsense being used by God as a test to show which Christians are for real? Is it an opportunity to showcase spiritual toughness? Does it reveal those few with the backbone and fortitude to press 250 on a spiritual scale?
BUT AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE…
If this is all it takes—unconstitutional orders by government leaders of both parties who essentially hate Christianity and despise the Lord Jesus—then what are all these so-called Christian leaders going to do when real persecution breaks out? And the answer to that should be obvious. And that’s also why persecution is a good thing.
It separates the men from the boys.
© 2020 by R.J. Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Posted on July 27, 2020, in Current Events and tagged American Churches, Called Chosen and Faithful, Come Out From Among Them and Be Separate, Discipleship, Infilling of the Holy Spirit, Lord Jesus, Spiritual Warfare, Strength Made Perfect In Weakness, The LORD is a Warrior, Twelve Apostles. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.
thank you RJ! and thank you Jesus for real men of God! we are so very grateful and thankful for those willing to stand up to the power of darkness with the Truth of the Word and Spirit of God our Father and his Christ! glory to God in the highest! peace on earth in Christ and Christ in us! good tidings of great Joy from Jesus enduring the Cross!
Thank you Yvonne. Our Lord set the very best of examples, showing both His tender love and compassion for fallen humans broken by evil and His great desire to heal us from sin, raise us up, and bless us with abundant life, but also bring His full strength to bear against the unseen non-human perpetrators of that evil and destroy them. Union with evil is death. Clean separation from evil is life.
Our Lord God is also a perfect Man, powerful, strong, and protecting, while also loving and merciful.
Blessing to you!
Blessings right back to you, exponentially multiplied! We set ourselves apart from this fallen, broken, dark world system and thick darkness her people, but pray and intercede for them, for God’s kindness is meant to bring them to repentance; unless they fail to respond to His Kindness and when the Door eventually shuts, the Word says they will be under the wrath of God. “It is a terrible thing to be under the Hands of our Living God” bringing vengeance for evil; but the safest, securest, most comforting, peaceful, restful, growth producing, fruit producing, exciting, inspiring, healing, worshipful, majestic, awe and wonder-filled place to take the Right Hand of God and live, move and have our being in Christ the Son, and Christ in us, the hope of glory that doesn’t disappoint!
“In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” John 14:20
I love that day! I love that “one day is as a thousand and a thousand as one day!” The day is glorious! the great and terrible day will be unspeakably terrible for those who do not heed the warning and come to Jesus.
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Drat! As a 160lb professional-class pen-pushing (actually keyboard-tapping) weakling, it seems I am condemned to scrape across the line on judgement day …
Thank you for the comment, Paul! And thanks for reading my stuff. I appreciate it. As a fellow keyboard-tapper, resulting in a voluminous amount of work over many years, I stand with you. Regarding blue collar work, some choose it because they like it, some choose it because they have no other choice to one degree or another, and some are even forced into it by circumstance, desiring something else or something better. Whatever the case, we do the best we can. Work is work. It all requires a level of fortitude. We must subject it to the will of God.
Regarding the early disciples, their world in many respects was obviously harder to live and survive within, and manual and skilled labor was much more difficult. My understanding of the matter was that the Lord needed tough men to deal with all they would face as spiritual soldiers on the front lines. They would be subjected to many travails and much hatred. In today’s world the dynamics have changed, but it is undoubtedly still very difficult for most of us to make a living regardless of the nature of our work, whatever it is. Also, all work is physical to some degree.
Blessings to you.