These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Matthew 10:2-4
One of the lesser known apostles was Simon the Zealot. In fact, not much more was said of him, other than that he was an apostle. He gets very little recognition and little was known about him. That he was a zealot gives us an insight into his nationalism and political beliefs, and maybe into the dynamics of the group Jesus was assembling. Zealots particularly hated the Romans and those that cooperated with Rome (e.g. tax collectors). Did this become less of an issue/priority after he began following Jesus? It does not say, but based on the way the apostles are listed, maybe Simon was also paired with Judas to drive out demons. Though they did not know it was Judas who would betray, someone was performing ministry work with him.
Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. Mark 6:6-7
I wonder if there were any arguments when Jesus sent out the apostles in pairs to carry out his ministry. They seemed to argue among themselves as to who would be greatest, so I am sure there were other disagreements. How did they settle these? Jesus commenting on their lack of faith, then sending them on to work it out? With a mix of zealots, tax collectors, fishermen, and others with a wide range of political and social views coming into the group, there were surely some initial differences of opinion as the group was formed. Unless, these things became secondary issues, or meaningless to them as they learned and lived with their leader, their savior. Can we do the same with our petty differences as we interact with our Christian family?
Have you ever done a considerable amount of work and received very little credit or recognition for what you have done? It can be humbling, or even infuriating if you think you were overlooked or if someone took the credit you deserved. If Simon were to look back at his place in history, would he want to rewrite things or add to them? Maybe he would be content just with having walked with his Savior and completing His mission after the resurrection. I wonder. Maybe we will hear more stories someday.
So, as you do your ministry, and as you live your life for whoever you are living it for, know why you are doing it. Remember that most of what you do will not be recognized by anyone 50 year from now. In fact, very few if anyone will remember you at all 100 years from now. Does that mean that your work does not matter? Not at all! In fact, what you do each day has an influence on those around you that can last a lifetime and beyond through the lives of others into whom you are investing. Those who built houses and roads and monuments did not know what kind of an impact they would have on those still benefiting from their labor, but they do benefit. Let us labor for our Lord, not just for our own benefit, but for the faceless others who we may never meet this side of heaven, but will grow in their faith because of what you did, or what Simon the Zealot did centuries ago.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
Strength and Courage in Christ,