Inner circles. Some people have them. Others do not. We do know that Jesus had an inner circle. Peter, James and John were with Jesus at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2, Mark 9:2-3, Luke 9:28-36). The remaining 9 disciples were not invited. Moreover, on the night Jesus was arrested, disciples not named Peter, James and John were told to sit down while the others were invited to pray with Jesus (Matthew 26:36-37). Later on, Judas was replaced with a guy named Matthias and that’s about all we know about him (Acts 1:12-26). Come to think of it, the Bible does not name the disciples beyond Peter, James and John all that much. Sure, they were present in big events we discuss or hear in Sunday school and sermons, but how many times have you heard about the disciple Philip? That’s just one example.
You have to wonder whether these disciples sometimes felt left out. Seriously, did they ever think, ‘Why him and not me?’ After all, we are all fallen individuals, prone to wonder why others get invited to lunch or land a big promotion at work. “I contribute,” we might say. “I have been here for years and no one seems to care,” we might think. The point of this is to show that we may not always, if ever, get invited to be part of an inner circle. When our life’s work has ended and we cross the swelling tide, we might not be the most popular or best-known people. Still, that does not mean you stop working, nor does it mean you stop serving the Lord.
In the case of the disciple Philip, nothing is certain about his life after Jesus’ resurrection. Easton’s Bible Dictionary points out that Philip is said to have preached in Phrygia, and to have met his death at Hierapolis. As for Bartholomew or Nathaniel, he does not get a lot of name recognition outside of John 1:47, John 21:2 and Acts 1:4, 12, 13. When it comes to Thomas or Didymus, he’s best known for being a doubter. Matthew, meanwhile, was selected as one of the 12 disciples (Matthew 6:15) but his name does not occur again in the Gospel history except in the lists of the apostles. As a matter of fact, the last notice of Matthew, aka Levi, is in Acts 1:13. The time and manner of Matthew’s death are unknown.
I can go on here, but I hope the picture of ‘you will not always be in the Who’s Who of important people’ came across. No, it’s not always easy, and questions will sometimes come to mind. When that happens, take a deep breath, grab some coffee and keep on keepin’ on. Where possible, find a place to read Scripture. Paul writes in Philippians 4:11 that he learned to be content in any state. The author of Hebrews instructs readers to be content with what you have. At the same time, be thankful unto Him (Psalm 100:4, Colossians 3:15). When you are content, you are pleased and satisfied. When you are pleased and satisfied, you are at peace. And when you are at peace, you can avoid the thoughts of ‘why not me?’