You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain.
Men talk of choosing a career, selecting a profession, or deciding what trade to follow; and often the ministry of the Word is put on the same level as what are commonly called the learned professions. But actually, it is not the servant of God who chooses his path. It is Christ who calls by His grace and who fits His servants by divinely bestowed gifts for the work of ministering His truth to others.
Jesus selected and called the twelve. Why Judas was included must remain a mystery beyond human understanding, though we know it was that Scripture might be fulfilled (John 6:70; 17:12).
It has often been said that the disciples were not college or seminary trained men, but what school could offer so rich a curriculum today as these men enjoyed during three-and-a-half years of intimate association and holy fellowship with Him who was both Jehovah’s Servant and their Lord?
A disciple is a learner: an apostle is a sent one, a missionary. The twelve were both. They learned of Jesus. They were sent forth by Him to carry the message to others. During the days of His flesh, that ministry was confined to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, the chosen nation. In resurrection our Lord extended its scope to embrace “all the world.”
Go, labor on; spend and be spent,
Thy joy to do the Father’s will;
It is the way the Master went;
Should not the servant tread it still?
Go, labor on; enough, while here,
If He shall praise thee, if He deign
Thy willing heart to mark and cheer:
No toil for Him shall be in vain.
Toil on, and in thy toil rejoice;
For toil comes rest, for exile home;
Soon shalt thou hear the Bridegroom’s voice,
The midnight peal: “Behold, I come!”
H. A. Ironside, The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1994), 235.