Summary: The most important players on the church team are not always the starters... the leaders. Often it is the "behind the scenes" workers that are most important

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On Being Second String

John 1:35-40

We want to dwell this morning on verse 40 "Andrew, Simon's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus."

I don't know about you... were you ever raised in the shadow of a sibling, or a parent, or a friend, or a leader?

I was.... I remember all my life, being "Ricky, Sherrie's brother". Before that I was "Ricky, Hal's son."

It was not till I went to college that people stopped saying that, then they just said "Ricky Pendleton, that boy with the strange hair."

Andrew lived his whole life in the shadow of his brother Peter

Every time John mentions Andrew he calls him "Andrew, Simon's brother."

Like I introduce "This is Simon" and you just nod. Then I say, Simon's brother and you say "Oh, right, sure, everybody knows Simon, I didn't know that he had a Micky Mouse brother like that, but everyone knows Simon."

This must have been hard for Andrew, being second string... because before entering the ministry he was part of a closely knit quartet... Simon and Andrew, James and John.

But the other three got on the fast track and were quickly promoted to first string, and became pastors of the first churches, and chairmen of boards, and bishops... while Andrew stayed in the small church.

It was hard for Andrew because he knew these boys when.

We usually think fairly well of ourselves, but if we hear someone has done very well or become famous... and we knew them when... then for some reason, we think they can't be much.

If they were much we wouldn't have known them.

Those three made first string and he remained on the bench. How did he take it?

That is what we want to look at today.

Second string is a position that nobody wants to play... or at least few do.

But the truth is that in life like in the pros... there are few starting spots and most will be left to play second or third string.

As Christians, as loved children of God there is no second string... everyone is on the first team.

But in life... in career, in school, in sports, and even in church..... there are those who will live in the spotlight, their faces will be recognized, their names will be prominent, they will get the credit for the work of the second string, and they will get the glory.

And life will never give the credit due, but the second string is often more important than the starters.

We all have places where we play second string. some of us have places where we are starters.

Today I want to talk about the importance of and how to play second string. We will use Andrew as our example.

1. Realize that it is not what life does to you that is significant, the only significant thing is the response that you make.

Two people can undergo identical experiences, and one will be remade by it and the other wrecked by it.... one will be made more beautiful and the other unspeakably ugly.. one impoverished by it and the other enriched by it.... one broken by it and the other strengthened by it.

It is not what life does to you, it is the response you make.


Many play the old game… If I can't be first, I won't play at all.

They cannot stand to stand in the shadow of another and they become cold and hard.

They fail to see the importance of their position, thinking that only the starter is important.

They are like the runner up in the Miss America contest... she does not feel it is a position of honor... she sees it as a loss.

But a football team is only as good as its second string... because the first string has to rest and gets hurt.

A basketball team is only as good as its bench is deep.

And in the church.... the second string is by far the most important.

Usually the first string... in the public light... is the pastor and the music ministers, and the deacons.

But the second string work being done at this church is what keeps it going. Like Mrs. Bryan sitting at that desk during Sunday School keeping the records.

Like Doug, the treasurer, keeping all the bills paid and the money in order. Like Sunday school teachers who are doing the real teaching in this church. Like a member visiting a neighbor and inviting them to Sunday school

Like the choir who puts in hours of practice for every one song you see them sing.

Like Ben who comes up here and takes care of the things that go wrong with the building.

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