I heard about a mom and dad who decided to give their child the very curious name of Odd. Poor kid! Obviously that name invited ridicule and mockery all through grade school, high school, and college. But the jibes made him want to achieve, and he became a very successful lawyer.
Because people ribbed him his entire life, he decided that upon his death, he wanted an unmarked tombstone placed at his grave so that his name would never be uttered again. His wishes were honored. The problem was when people saw this tombstone without an inscription, they almost always said, “That’s odd.”
Jesus gave to His disciple Simon the new name of Rock. Why? He knew Peter would eventually grow into the name. His given name, Simon, means “a listener” or “a hearer.”
Upon seeing him for the first time, Jesus essentially gave him a nickname — a new title to describe the person he was going to become. He said, “Your name is going to be Peter or ‘Rock’ (the literal meaning).”
I think the others might have done a little snickering at that point. If there was anything Simon was not, it was a rock. A rock is stable and solid. Peter was given to the emotion of a moment. He could be hotheaded.
But God saw him for what he would become.
We know Jesus knew what He was getting. He knew Peter would fail. He knew that Peter would fall short. He even knew that Peter would ultimately deny Him.
But Jesus also knew Peter would make a comeback. He knew that after his early failure, “the rock” would courageously serve the Lord all the days of his life. He looked right through him, and He saw potential.
In the same way, Jesus looks at you and doesn’t see you just for what you are. He sees you for what you can become.
We see a lump of clay; God sees a beautiful vase. We see a blank canvas; God sees a finished painting. We see a lump of coal; God sees a refined diamond. We see problems; God sees solutions. We see failures; God sees potential success. We see a Jacob; God sees an Israel. We see a Simon; God sees an apostle Peter.
God can take the failures of our lives and use them for His glory. That doesn’t mean that we should go out and intentionally fail. It means that when we do, we can learn from those mistakes.
It is has been said that the doorway to success is entered through the hallway of failure. It has also been said that if at first you don’t succeed, relax — you are just like the rest of us!
Have you ever tried to do something for God that was a complete failure? Perhaps it was your feeble attempt to share the gospel with some friends. They not only failed to respond in the affirmative, they became angry with you.
It may have been a prayer for someone to get better physically, who actually got worse. I remember once a friend was feeling nauseated and asked if I would pray. I did just that, and his nausea increased! He said he would never ask me to pray for him again!
Perhaps you started a home Bible study, and no one showed up.
Let me say this to you: thank you for your failures! I would much rather try and fail, than to never do anything at all. Besides, failure is not always such a bad thing. We learn from our mistakes. Failure can indeed teach success.
Successful people know how to handle failure. Many failed initially, only to succeed later. Albert Einstein failed at math before he discovered the theory of relativity. Isaac Newton had to have an apple fall on his head before discovering the theory of gravity. Michael Jordan failed to make his high-school basketball team before making the NBA.
You might say Peter was the patron saint of ordinary people. In short, Peter was a man just like us.
The point: God can take an ordinary person and do something extraordinary. Jesus did not choose the apostles because they were great. Rather, their greatness came as a result of Jesus’ choosing them.
In the same way, God did not choose you because you were great. You aren’t. Nor am I. Yet in His grace and mercy, He can do something wonderful with both of our lives.This article was adapted from Losers and Winners, Saints and Sinners: How to Finish Well in the Race of Life (New York: Warner Faith, 2005). Used by permission.
Did you know that the Lord has an amazing trade-in deal in store for you? That’s right; you are going to trade in your existing body, with its aches and pains, for the newest model.
I think it is really important for us to better understand the person of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes people think of the Holy Spirit as more of an “It” than a “Him.” But according to Scripture, the Holy Spirit is not only God, but He has a will, a personality, and can even be offended!
Have you ever had doubts about your faith? Have you ever wondered if it is really all true? If so, don’t be too hard on yourself. Some Christians are reluctant to admit that they have any questions at all.
I have always believed in the promise of Christmas. There has always been something special to me about this time of the year, going back to my earliest days of childhood.
What is it that we love about Christmas, once we get past the initial trappings?
The Living a Prayerful Life book will be sent to you in appreciation for your gift to Harvest Ministries this month.
It’s not enough to just pray here and there. We should be living a life of prayer. Could you honestly say you are living a prayerful life? If not, why not take a step in that direction?
To help you do just that, Harvest is offering Living a Prayerful Life by Andrew Murray in appreciation for your gift of support this month. This book will help you combat prayerlessness and give you practical guidelines for developing a life of habitual prayer.
Living a Prayerful Life will be sent to you in appreciation for your gift to Harvest Ministries this month.