In the New Testament literature we are told much of the apostles Paul, Peter, John and James. However, there is scant information on Matthew, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew and others. I believe that there is a lesson for us in the lack of records which describe these other servants of Jesus.
We know that each of these men spent several years in practical study with Jesus. We know that they were with Him in the garden and that they were given the promise of the Holy Spirit (John 14-16). Further, we know that they were all active in the early days of the church, as Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost with the eleven (Acts 2:14) and they all remained in Jerusalem while the other disciples were scattered under persecution (Acts 8:1). Beyond these few facts, there is little known of what the various apostles did in service to the kingdom. This is not to say that God is unaware, but that we are. While we cannot point to any particular records and state with certainty that Philip did this or Bartholomew that, we may remain certain that these hand-picked men continued to fulfill the Great Commission and help the church to grow.
It may be that none about us are aware of the contributions that you and I make to the cause of Christ. Perhaps no banquets are held and honors bestowed upon us by our peers. Nevertheless, two thoughts should come to mind. First, the only approval we should seek is God’s, knowing that He is aware of every public and private activity and rewards faithfulness handsomely (2 Cor. 5:10). Second, we are charged with the tremendous responsibility of holding up Christ for the world to honor. The Master Himself said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life,” (John 3:14-15). As those with an understanding of God’s truth, our duty is to elevate Christ, allowing those about us to see Him and find life in Him. We may labor behind the scenes and receive no public recognition for our service, but anything we do to exalt Christ is both serving the greatest cause and pleasing to the greatest Master. That alone is the thought that must have compelled Andrew, Bartholomew, Philip and others to fulfill Jesus’ charge, and it must be sufficient to sustain us in our service as well.