Name, fame, pain, shame, claim, drain, gain – 7 things that could knock you/me/anybody off path this year… 

A name: wanting to be known for being ‘someone’. Simon Peter had been told he’d be the ‘rock’. He tried to live up to the name in his own strength. Verdict: Very public fail at crucifixion day. 

Fame: wanting to be known for something (although in 21C you can have fame just because). Simon Peter had been the second human ever to walk on water. But when he saw Jesus after resurrection day he just jumped right into the water. Happy to get back to wading. Not walking on water needed. 

Pain: fear of pain made Simon Peter disown Jesus. The pain of disappointment kept him trapped till Resurrection day. But after Resurrection he is told pain and disappointment will follow him in his old age (you’ll be led where you don’t want to go). As far as we know he ended his life crucified upside down as he begged not to be honoured with a regular crucifixion like his Lord – Jesus Christ. He got over his pain complex. 

1 Peter 1: 3-9 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Shame: Simon Peter could have stayed in bondage to shame after publicly letting Jesus down and ruining his prize place at the table. He had been one of the elite three disciples chosen for extra duties and called  ‘the rock on which I’ll build my church’ but he had deserted Christ when it counted. But a walk with the resurrected Jesus changes all that. As Glenn Packhiam said: before this he had a task ‘be a fisher of men’ now he had a living person to live for ‘Q: Simon: Are we friends’ (x2), A: ‘you know it Lord’ Q: ‘Simon could you lay down your life for me in Agape Love’ A: I want to follow you Lord but only you know if I can. In these three paraphrased questions and answers Jesus strips away the pain of his recent past and reinstates what has been broke. Jesus makes Simon Peter into the sort of rock Jesus needs him to be not the sort Simon Peter though he had to be before he failed. 

Claim: Simon Peter claimed ‘even if everyone else will leave you I won’t.’ It is easy to over promise God, ourselves and those around us. In our culture lots of people are looking for a messiah figure who can sort everything out for them. After the Resurrection Simon Peter was clear the only hero was Jesus and gave his life pointing people to him. 

Drain: when you are drained and ‘running on empty’, or on the ‘dregs of your personal fuel tank’ you can make terrible decisions. After the Resurrection, but before the energising impact of Pentecost, Simon Peter organised an election by a lot to decide who would become the replacement apostle for Judas Iscariot. As far as we know Jesus had not asked him to do this. All he had been told to do was wait for power to come on him. But he cast lots. Mathias was chosen. And we never hear about Matthias again. But we do you hear lots about  James (Jesus’ brother), and Paul. It’s possible Simon Peter should have waited for God to fill the vacant position not by casting lots but by raising up a surprising leader (both James and Paul opposed Jesus’ ministry before their conversions). Pause for thought. When you’re drained do how likely are you to make great decisions. What Pentecost ‘refilling’ might you need?

Gain: After the Resurrection Simon Peter took his friends fishing. Maybe he was thinking of restarting his business. But it all went spectacularly wrong when they failed to catch fish for whole night. A man from the shore shouted to throw the nets onto the other side. Peter had heard that before years earlier in his life and ministry. With a glimmer of recognition he orders the nets thrown over, and immediately they’re bulging with a huge catch fish. But he immediately leaves behind pricey catch and jumps in to meet the man on the shore. His saviour. His Lord. His Jesus. As The song says:

All I once held dear, built my life upon

All this world reveres, and wars to own

All I once thought gain I have counted loss

Spent and worthless now, compared to this

So the challenge is to care little for name or fame. Put behind you pain and shame. Tred carefully in what you claim, especially when you’ve been through a time of drain, and stop focusing on what you can gain. 
Simples

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