"Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us." - Acts 1:21-22
The names of the twelve apostles of Christ are made known throughout the gospel narratives. Their actions, confessions, mistakes and interactions with Jesus are vividly portrayed. And yet, beside the notable names of the apostles we know, there were some others . . .not noted, but still present in the shadows.
Upon the defection and subsequent suicide of the disciple, Judas, the remaining eleven disciples decide to find a replacement. The qualification set for Judas' replacement was that he had to have been with the disciples the whole time that they were with Jesus.
Two men met the qualification-Justus and Matthias. Though the gospels tell us nothing about them until this point, these two men had remained faithful and consistent with Jesus and the disciples throughout the entire length and breadth of Jesus' three-year public ministry.
How often do we express our gratitude for the people in our lives who have been with us consistently through every trial, triumph, twist and turn we've had to face?
Most of us would admit that our list of constant companions and steadfast friends is not long at all. We are blessed if we can count one or two. But the gratitude we owe those one or two is quite immeasurable.
This is a good time to give thanks to and for those people in our lives who have not been seasonal in their relationships with us. Their hands have always been outstretched to help us; their shoulders have been the ones we've leaned on with dependable regularity; their presence has always assured us that even during our darkest days, we were not alone.
No, never alone.
Dear God, we thank you today for never leaving us alone. Even as we anticipate future revelations of your goodness, we are grateful right now for the constant company you have provided. Amen.
From UCC's StillSpeaking Devotionals. Visit UCC.org