Have you ever asked yourself that question? Probably not. Yet I think it is an important question for us to examine as pastors or ministry leaders. Why?”, you ask? Because who you are matters to God.
Who were Peter and Paul?
Peter and Paul are two men that God used in a great way in the early church, and truly, their testimony has been etched into the halls of eternity as we read about them 2000 years later. Have you ever stopped to think about how God used them, or maybe, why God used them the way He did?
I do not know if you could find two more different individuals. Paul, raised as a Roman citizen, was educated and a Pharisee of Pharisees by his own testimony. Based on his life, he was a very determined man. He seems to us to be pretty strategic in his approach to ministry, not necessarily one with a hot head, and able to have conversations with the most base of society and with the ruling elite.
Peter, on the other hand, was raised as a fisherman. Fishermen are not necessarily known as the most educated crowd. He was not a Roman citizen. His actions as he walked with the Lord and his quick responses indicate he may have been one to act without thinking. He was not afraid of violence or using it if he saw fit. I can imagine his life was spent working with his family, learning the trade of fishing and,(depending on how closely we accept The Chosen as canon), may not have always followed the law.
What did they do?
Peter is known as the Apostle to the Jews and Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles (Gal. 2:7-8). The book of Acts (also known as “The Acts of the Apostles”) is dominated by the story of Paul and his travels. Paul wrote the majority of the New Testament, while Peter is responsible for only 2 small books and the source for much, if not all of the gospel of Mark.
Paul’s life is well-documented throughout the NT and how God used him to take the gospel to the Gentile World. Peter’s influence is less biblically-documented than Paul’s, but evidenced nonetheless in the history of Christendom (even though some have taken his role in the church out of context). Even with their different callings, they both submitted to the Lord and obeyed.
What does that have to do with you?
Do you find yourself to be Peter or Paul? No matter which apostle you relate to, the answer to the question used for the title is simple: neither.
To quote the great theologian Dr. Seuss “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”1
What we learn from Peter and Paul is not how we could best be like them, but how God has made us for a particular purpose that no one else can fulfill. Whatever events in your life that have shaped you can be used by God to reach people that others cannot reach.
What if Peter had tried to reach the Gentiles like Paul? What if Paul had wanted to reconcile with the Jewish culture he persecuted by witnessing to them instead of the Gentiles?
When we are trying to serve the Lord like someone else is, we are not serving the Lord as we are called to do. It is great to have mentors, men and women to look up to and from whom to learn. However, you were not intended to be them. You were made to be you.
Do you speak differently from your favorite preacher? Do you outline differently from your Bible college president? Do you find yourself surrounded by different people from the ones at the church across town?
Stop worrying about looking like someone else, preaching like someone else, running your ministry like someone else, and living your life like someone else. Just be who God made you to be.
He loved that pastor across town enough to die for him. He loved that ministry leader with national and international influence enough to die for him. He loved that lady who speaks at all the conferences enough to die for her. And, guess what? He loved you for who you are enough to die for you.
Let us keep life simple and just “Love God, Love Others, and Preach the Gospel.”
1 Cor 12:4-6 “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.”
What do you think about being different? How has your personality helped you reach a certain people group? What are your thoughts on this? I would love to hear from you.