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Affluent Christian Investor | October 23, 2017

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Peter’s Purpose Profile

The Denial of Saint Peter (Painted by Caravaggio) (circa 1610) {US-PD}

The Denial of Saint Peter (Painted by Caravaggio) (circa 1610) {US-PD}

I’ve found that God is often more comfortable with our humanity than we are. What do I mean by this?   We let our failures and what we can’t do keep us from doing what we can do. This wasn’t the case with Peter. He made many mistakes, spoke out of turn and actually denied the Lord. Yet Peter was the one who spoke at Pentecost and ushered in Pentecost. He was also one of the first Jews to go to the Gentiles and begin the revival that made it possible for you and me to serve the Lord. Yes, Peter was imperfect but he was a purpose champion for God.

You can be a champion too, but you must not allow your imperfections and mistakes to prevent you from fulfilling your purpose. I have also encountered many trying hard to improve their weaknesses, not trying something for God until they or their circumstances improve. If you are doing that, I must be frank:  it represents a flawed strategy. In all probability, God is less concerned with your failures than you are. Are you more righteous than God?  Can you have higher standards than God has? You’re only human and not perfect or superhuman. Stop trying to be either. If Peter left a purpose legacy, so can you. If God is willing to work in and through you, then let Him.


When Jesus met Peter, his name wasn’t Peter.  It was Simon (see Mark 3:16).  But Jesus changed his name and today we don’t refer to Peter as Saint Simon.  Why did Jesus change Peter’s name?  I think Jesus wanted Peter to see himself differently.  Jesus became not only Peter’s Lord, but also his ministry coach.  Coach Jesus decided that Peter needed a new perspective on who he was.  So from that point, Peter was known as the rock.

So Peter now had a new identity and Jesus expected him to walk in it.  Every time someone said Peter’s name, it was a reminder of who Peter was, not who he had been. Do you dwell in the past? Are you bogged down in an old image that others assigned to you and that you accepted? For many years, I was known as an administrator because that is what my job was. When I began to position myself as a speaker and consultant, some opposed me, not willing to receive this new image and identity. I then had a choice: Was I going to revert to that old identify or forge ahead in my new one?  I chose to forge ahead and some still refuse to accept me as who I am, clinging instead to who they knew me to be previously.

Are you stuck in an identity rut?  Do some know you as Simon, but Jesus knows you as Peter?  If that’s the case, you have a choice to make. Whose report will you believe? Those who want to keep you as Simon or Coach Jesus who wants to free you to be the person He knows you can be. That’s an important yet difficult choice to make. I pray you will have the courage to accept your Peter identity and shed your Simon label.


When Jesus met Simon Peter, he was working in his family business as a fisherman:

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said,

“‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’ For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.’  So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him”

– (Luke 5:8-11).

Again we see that Simon Peter was all hung up in his past, telling Jesus that he was sinful—like Jesus didn’t already know that!  When you spend time reminding God of your sins, do you really think He is interested?  Or do you think He has forgotten?  But that isn’t the point I want to make. Simon Peter was a fisherman.  His job held a clue to his purpose. Jesus related Peter’s purpose to his employment and what Peter would do from that point was related to his business.

Does your employment history hold clues to your purpose? Don’t be too quick to say “no.” Do you have a resume? Study it and ask yourself some questions:  What did I enjoy about that job? What did I hate? What was absent from the jobs I hated? Is there any common theme or activity among all your jobs? What feedback did you get during your job evaluations? Study the answers and see if there is any pattern that you can see.

What did we see in Peter’s life this week that could help you with your own PurposeQuest:

  1. If God is willing to work in and through you, let Him. Don’t allow your mistakes or weaknesses derail your PurposeQuest.
  2. Don’t accept any other identify except the one that Jesus has for you.
  3. Study your job history to see if it holds any clues to help you in your PurposeQuest.

I think I have given you enough tips to work on this week as you continue your PurposeQuest.  If I can help you, please write.  Have a great week!


Originally posted on The Monday Memo.

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.


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