Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life


What Jesus Sees In You

This week I researched a man I knew virtually nothing about. He was part of a group more famous than the Beatles, but you probably don’t recognize his name. He did great things, but there is no record of them. He changed lives, but I can’t tell you how.

His name was Thaddeus. He was one of our Lord’s twelve apostles.

People recognize names like Billy Graham, Charles Stanley, and Max Lucado.  But I doubt you’ve ever heard my father’s name—Jerry Ulett. He drove from Coquille to Powers, OR every Sunday for 15 years to preach to a handful of people because the Episcopal Church couldn’t support a vicar of its own.

Do you ever feel like you are a failure because you haven’t built something grand and glorious in your lifetime? I’m beginning to see that if we are where God has placed us, doing what God has called us to do, then we are successful in the only eyes that matter-- God’s eyes.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

We can measure the success of a church by how big their building is, how large the budget may be, and how many new members and baptisms occur each month. But that isn’t how God measures success.

Thaddeus had several names: "Lebbaeus" in Matthew 10:3, “Judas, brother of James” in Luke 6:16, “Judas, not Iscariot” in John 14:22, and “Thaddeus” in Mark 3:18.

How would you like to be simply known as “so and so’s little brother”? Obviously, no one would want to be confused with Judas Iscariot, but would you want to be referred to as “the other one”? Thaddeus was.

You’ll never read that Thaddeus preached a powerful sermon or healed anyone who was sick. You won’t know how many pagans he converted. But he probably did. Jesus sent his twelve disciples to cast out demons, heal the sick, and preach repentance. That included Thaddeus.

You might look at other “successful” people and desire to be like them. You may long for their opportunities or wish you had the talents they have been given. You may envy their accolades.

But you and I are not them. God ordained a different path for us. And, believe it or not, it is a better path. Why? Because it is what God specifically chose for us: you, me, and Thaddeus.

The world may never know your name. You may not have a Wikipedia page or be mentioned in the Who’s Who of All the Important People Who Ever Lived. But Jesus knows you and there’s nothing second rate about your life.

Don’t let the world suggest that you are insignificant. Your life matters. So much so, that it was documented in blood on a cross at Calvary. 

Each of us has a personalized calling.

Will you treasure it or take it for granted? Will you be so prideful as to compare your service to someone else’s, and then become bitter because yours isn’t as flashy as theirs? Or doesn’t pay as well? Or never receives even a single clap of applause at the end of the day?

I’ve never heard a sermon on Thaddeus. I can’t find much information about him at all. There are no inspiring books on his life. Fox's Book of Martyrs records that Thaddeus (or Lebbaeus, or the brother of James, or Judas, not Iscariot) was crucified for his faith at Edessa in A.D. 72.

He was martyred for his faithful service to Jesus. His life mattered. So does yours.