[forthright] The Right Man for the Job

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Thu, 03 Jul 2003 13:16:00 -0300
   Forthright Magazine
   http://www.forthright.net
   Going straight to the Cross


   ----
   This guy would be last on most lists. But not
   God's.
   ----

   The Right Man for the Job
   by Mike Benson
   http://www.oakhillcoc.org

   "And the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan
   has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat'"
   (Luke 22:31; cf. Matt. 16:23).

   He wasn't exactly a great prospect...

   His resume had some rather obvious gaps in it. He
   was an uneducated fisherman (Acts 4:13; Matt.
   4:19). He was impulsive (John 18:10; Matt. 26:50-
   51). He was prone to break his word (Matt. 26:53;
   Mark 14:29; Matt. 26:74). He started things that
   he didn't finish (Matt. 14:28-30). He experienced
   fear and doubt (Matt. 14:30-31). He could be
   cowardly (Luke 22:54-60a) and undependable (Matt.
   26:40-41; Mark 14:37). He couldn't always control
   his tongue (Mark 14:71). He couldn't always see
   the big picture (Matt. 16:23; John 18:11), but was
   often preoccupied with the urgent and immediate.
   He was a narrow-minded racist (Acts 2:39; 10:13-
   14; Gal. 2:11-14) and a male chauvinist (John
   4:27).

   Let's be brutally honest -- Simon Peter (Matt.
   16:17; John 21:15-17) wasn't the right man for
   leading the early church. Right?! The Lord needed
   an entirely different breed of man. He required an
   uncommon stock -- a man with minor blemishes, a
   near-perfect specimen, a spiritual giant -- or did
   He (Luke 6:12, 13)?

   At Pentecost following the resurrection of Christ,
   there was Peter, boldly preaching the first gospel
   sermon with his fellow apostles (Acts 2:14; 38,
   40). Yes, Peter! But it didn't stop there. The
   very same man who fled for his life when he was
   identified as a disciple of the Lord was the very
   same man who, despite the threat of imprisonment,
   fearlessly proclaimed the risen Lord (Acts 3:11-
   4:20; 29-31; 5:29).

   Think for just a moment -- how can we account for
   this incredible transformation? How did this
   milquetoast Galilean fisherman become a notable
   force in the Kingdom of the first century? More
   significantly, what does Peter tell us about
   ourselves? Consider:

   1. No matter what your previous background, the
   Lord can use you as a vessel in His service. Our
   faults can be molded and fashioned into virtue.
   Failure yesterday is not necessarily fatal
   tomorrow. Weakness can become strength. This He
   did for Peter, and this He can do with and for
   you.

   "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ
   Jesus for good works, which God prepared
   beforehand that we should walk in them" (Eph.
   2:10; cf. Isa. 64:10).

   2. It takes time to become the person Jesus wants
   you to become. Evolving a Christ-like spirit is a
   lengthy process (1 Pet. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:18; cf. Heb.
   5:12ff). No one is shaped into a leader overnight.
   Peter certainly wasn't.

   In fact, approximately twenty years after His
   service during the Lord's personal ministry, Peter
   as an apostle, a gospel preacher, and an elder (1
   Pet. 5:1) still needed some "internal refinement"
   (Gal. 2:11ff). I find that ironic. In Acts 2, on
   the birthday of the church, Peter had taught,
   "...For the promise is to you and to your
   children, and to all who are afar off [i.e.,
   Gentiles]" (v. 39). Then some eight to ten years
   later it took a vision from heaven (Acts 10:9-16)
   to convince him that God, in fact, accepted all
   men, including Gentiles, into the faith (Acts
   10:34-35; 11:18). And perhaps yet another eight to
   ten years later, in Galatians 2, Peter still
   struggled with the concept of the Gentile equality
   (Gal. 2:11ff).

   He was a slower learner. You might say he suffered
   from SADD -- spiritual attention deficit disorder.
   Growth was an incremental element for Peter. The
   same is true for each of us today.

   3. Jesus seeks a willing spirit. Peter's problem
   wasn't his lack of desire and zeal, it was how he
   employed these qualities that often got him into
   trouble. One of the reasons Jesus chose Peter was
   because he was a man of passion. Granted, his
   passion was misdirected at times, but once Peter
   came to terms with the concept of the risen Lord
   (1 Pet. 1:3), that same fervency was channeled in
   a very constructive and powerful way.

   The good news is, the Lord sees beyond what we are
   to what we can become. We see spiritual resumes
   that are tarnished by transgression (Rom. 3:23).
   We see rank sinners; Jesus sees holy saints. We
   see humiliation; Jesus sees exaltation. We see
   despair; Jesus sees a living hope. We see Simon
   the crumbling disciple; Jesus saw Peter the rock-
   solid leader who would help stabilize the first-
   century church.

   Dear friend, are you looking for a job?

   Do you feel incapable?

   Is your work-history marred by defeat?

   Yes? Great! (You automatically qualify.)

   The Lord is hiring new laborers at this very
   moment! You can start your new work NOW (Acts
   2:38; 2 Cor. 5:17; 4:16).

   ---
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