If you look up the definition of this phrase, you’ll find that it refers to a loosely organized assembly of people who vary in appearance, background, and character but have a common goal. Examples might be a band of pirates, or a western posse. Historically, “motley” was the varicolored fabric worn by jesters — you remind what that looks like, right? Kind of crazy and mismatched?
Well, you might say the disciples Jesus chose were a motley crew. There was a zealot, a tax collector and some fishermen. One of them denied Him, one betrayed Him, a couple asked for preferential treatment. They didn’t always get along. They all seemed pretty clueless and dense about where Jesus was headed, even after He came right out and told them that He was going to Jerusalem to be killed.(Matthew 16:21) Somehow, in the end, it all comes together in a way that is nothing short of miraculous. This disparate group of men becomes a force that “turns the world upside down.”(Acts 17:6) How? The answer is simple: they received the Holy Spirit.
The same is true of any Christian congregation today. We’re doctors and lawyers, janitors and cooks. We’re black and white, Korean and Indian. We don’t look like a , family, but we are. We get sidetracked, we quarrel, we mess up and we get frustrated with one another. Somehow, though, with the help of the Spirit, and lots of prayer, we persevere and we accomplish things. We feed the hungry and clothe the naked; we visit prisoners; we teach and evangelize; we maintain church buildings and support missionaries. We couldn’t do any of this on our own. I think God planned to do great things through motley crews like us, just so we’d know we had to rely on Him and give Him all the glory.
“For consider your calling, brothers; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-30