Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Peter Principle

The Transfiguration (Matthew 17: 1-5)
1After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

4Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah."

5While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!"

I've been thinking about the launch of C3 and the relaunching of Jason's Church, Breakthrough Church quite a bit lately. I think Jeff and Jason have similar visions for their respective churches. That is, they really do want to get out of the way and allow God to use them for His glory. I know Jeff well enough to know that he doesn't say that because that's what he supposed to say. He really believes it. And while I only know Jason through our blogs, I believe that he really believes that, too.
I hear much about doing big things for God; of pursuing excellence for Him. Without question, He is worthy of our very best. But often I wonder if we pursue lofty goals in His name because we think that's what He wants from us. I also wonder if we feel we somehow fail Him when our expectations or the perceived expectations of others fail to materialize.

I love Peter's reaction to the Transfiguration of Jesus in the above passage of scripture. Peter loved Jesus. He wanted to honor him; to do something big for him. He wasn't wrong for wanting to do this, he just didn't grasp what was happening. Peter thoughts were likely, "What a great honor for Jesus to be in the company of Moses and Elijah!" Peter didn't realize that it was Moses and Elijah that were honored to be in the presence of Jesus. When God says, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!", do you ever wonder if God is maybe rolling his eyes at Peter -- I mean, just a little bit?

My point is, I think the Church (big C) needs to prayerfully consider everything we do for His Kingdom. If God wants a church to have thousands of members and offer many ministries and reach a large number of people, He will provide the means to accomplish that. Conversely, if God brings a body of believers together that may only ever have a small congregation, but this church is able to accomplish things that are big in God's eyes but not big in the eyes of the world, can we be okay with that? Can we also put aside the notion that one is good and the other is bad? I don't know what God has in store for my little church plant or for any of yours, but I pray that we will have an open dialogue with Him, so that where He leads we will follow. I want God to be enough for you and for me and for all of us.


Peter P said...

I CAN be ok with it and I believe I should be OK with it but the human part of me struggles so much!

I know though that God only ever asks us to be faithful and trust Him to measure our 'success'

Helen said...

I know that this is not exactly what you are saying, but I can kind of relate.

I think about my past as a teacher of small children, and how that was an opportunity to serve many people, thus "doing something big" for God.
Now I just stay home taking care of mom. Something small.
I look to St. Therese the Little Flower as my role model. She was big on "the little way".

"Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love."

I still have a lot of work to do to learn to show great love in small deeds.....

sherri said...


Nick the Geek said...

I think pastors really struggle with this. I know I do. I want everything I touch to turn to gold, figuratively speaking for course.

It is frustrating because it feels like I push and push and push burning myself out and getting depressed trying to make gold happen then when I fail God makes crazy wild stuff happen and doors open left and right and gives me energy and Lo-Carb Monster and things go great then just as I start to think, "finally" half the youth don't show up for a couple week and I'm sitting here going "wtf" (yeah sometimes preachers go there) "I thought we were just gonna hang out on this mountain and see amazing things God."

Then He reminds me that we need to get off the mountain because people don't live on the mountain and the Church is about people not the other way around. Then I read something like this and I'm all, "I suck to hard."

so thanks for that. My ego needed to be deflated. I'm being serious btw, not even a little sarcastic.

jasonS said...

Great post, Kat. And thanks for another shout out.

It is definitely a daily struggle to maintain perspective. God spoke to my spirit recently, "Your job is not to make the impossible happen, your job is to believe I can." That's very freeing -when I remember it!

At the end of the day, I do just want to be faithful with whatever God puts in our hands and trust Him that obedience is way better than sacrifice.

I'm shutting up now. :)

Beth said...

Dude. I read this very passage this week and was like...man, Peter KNEW JESUS and he STILL didn't get it! At least I'm not alone...

My thoughts go forever on this one...but the eyes can't take it...just know that this was very encouraging for me to read tonight.


katdish said...


Come back! Go to my post yesterday. You don't have to read it, just go to the video and listen to it.

Hang in there you scallywag!

Beth said...

Shouldn't it be "walk the plank ye scallywag"?


I'm hanging.