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God Can Use You!

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.””

(Luke 5:8 ESV)

In Simon Peter, this volatile, impetuous fisherman, we find a flawed but quite brilliant disciple: so human that his story speaks loudly through the ages, convincing generation upon generation of believers that they too can be used for Christ.

During my stay in Australia, I was feeling a little too feisty to be Christlike, sensing I might not sufficiently possess the soft, gentle personalities of others and wishing to change. As I prayed, God broke through with his wisdom and pointed me to Simon Peter. Simon Peter: feisty, courageous, strong. Here was Simon Peter, with all his seeming flaws, yet it was on him that Jesus chose to build his church! And then the Lord spoke: a soft character has many attributes but I need feisty, courageous and strong to advance my kingdom.

Too often Christians associate a Christlike character with meekness, and while this is indeed a Christlike attribute, we need to better recognise in ourselves and in others that God shapes us differently for his divine purposes. This is not to say that we do not each have to work on our characters, or require our hearts and minds continually to be shaped by Christ, but the point is this: we all need that, whether mild or strong.

My maternal grandfather had a saying that “all five fingers are not the same” and what he says carries the same truth that God was sharing with me about my character and about Simon Peter.

In our headline verse, Simon encounters Jesus for the first time. He is little persuaded by his brother Andrew’s enthusiasm for this new teacher, but when Jesus works the miracle of the catch of fish, Simon knows he is in the presence of God. His response? To ask Jesus to depart from him, for he is a sinful man. Simon believes he does not stack up.

Then move through the Gospels to when Jesus asks his disciples who he is. It is Simon, not the other, perhaps milder disciples who responds that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, and Jesus says: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (see Matthew 16:13-20 ESV). I will build my church on you Peter, you are a rock, and hell will not prevail against it. Is this not the precise sentiment God shared with me in that prayer as I searched my own character?

After the crucifixion, with the disciples in turmoil, John recounts how he and Peter ran to the tomb after Mary declared Jesus risen (see John 20). What strikes me is that John outran Peter to arrive there first, but did not dare go in. Rather it was flawed Peter who entered the tomb. This is what Jesus saw in that argumentative fisherman, what he saw when Peter boldly declared Jesus the Messiah and it is how he can also see the potential in each one of us.

What about you? Do you also consider yourself too feisty or bold? Or maybe too shy or unsure? Maybe too young or too old? Maybe too uneducated? God took a band of uneducated fisherman, with different and conflicting personalities, who fought and argued, but also loved and shared life together and bonded around the Christ that they recognised was the Son of God and through them, he changed the world.

This Pentecost, remember that God can use you, whomever and however you are. He made you with precision and he can take every part of you and hone it for a life of service to him. God can use you!

Copyright © Sharmila Meadows 2022

Scripture quotations are from The ESV®Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Dear Readers, does Simon Peter's story speak to you? Or does another disciple resonate more? I'd love to hear your perspective and thank you for reading The Mission Post.

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