By Roy Burner (Minister of the Gospel)
Shadow of Peter emphasizes that one's importance may outshine that of another; simply because they are in the limelight, while another is not. If we do not perform more conspicuous service does not mean we are not serving the Lord.
A person's worth, in serving the Lord, is not necessarily measured by who is in the limelight; but rather being in the perfect will of
the Lord, serving where one has been placed!
Words of a prophecy given many years ago: Do you expect me to build my house if not one stone is willing to carry the other? In building, the foundation carries the whole house, but one stone is build upon another and if every stone wants to be at the top of the building, or at least where it can be seen, and is not willing to be placed where the master builder wishes to place the stone, it is impossible to build with such unsurrendered stones!
An account was given of a missionary who served in a foreign land; putting his own life in peril, having rejected the advice of a government official not to go into that land. After spreading the Gospel he left for home feeling he had not accomplished what he had set out to do; leaving the missionary field for secular work.
When he had grown old; a young man from the land he had witnessed too, came to the missionary's homeland, to have a Bible translated into his country's native tongue. He looked up the missionary and revealed to him how he had helped turn a whole nation to Christ!
The former missionary's disappointment turned into triumph; in learning that revival had come to that land after his departure! What an amazing account of how valuable one man can be, when led of the Lord to impart the Gospel of Christ, despite one's feelings as to the outcome of that effort.
Another account was given of a man who had returned by ship from missionary work in a foreign land. When the ship docked there was a welcoming committee, a huge crowd on hand, to welcome someone with great fanfare. However, it was not for the missionary who had fallen into the shadow of Peter concept.
He questioned the Lord about this; with the Lord's reply: You are not home yet! One cannot measure their accomplishments by man's standards; or expected recognition, because heavenly rewards are of far more value than any fanfare man may give.
A movie entitled "The Keys of the Kingdom" revealed a missionary effort in China: After many failures in other areas of ministry, the priest was sent to missionary work in China by a bishop who believed in him despite his reported failures.
The missionary started the mission work from scratch to quite an accomplishment during his tenure there. At one point in time, he felt the shadow of Peter concept in seeing his missionary friend elevated to a Bishop status, who had started in the ministry the same time he had; placing him in the limelight, while he continued humbly serving in the position he had been placed in.
Again, the words previously mentioned: If we cannot perform in more conspicuous service we are still serving the Lord. When the priest departed from China, after many years of faithful service, though not elevated to the status of his friend, found his accomplishments to be far more extensive than could be imagined upon his departure!
One may feel they are as Andrew, seemingly a shadow of Peter his brother, in comparison to others who are often in the limelight as Peter. One man wrote: Even a single hair casts its shadow (Publilius Syrus). Another: A shadow owes its birth to light (John Gay); this statement is true, in that without light there would be no shadow. Jesus said: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
The Apostle Paul wrote: For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office (function) (Romans 12:3-4).
A Bible commentary noted that Paul reveals two dangers an individual may face: He might overestimate himself and try to exercise a gift God never gave him; or he might underestimate himself (a shadow of Peter concept) and fail to exercise the gift God has given him.
One may think themselves seemingly insignificant in comparison to another; with little recognition being given, walking in the shadow of Peter as that of Andrew his brother. However, Andrew was one of the twelve apostles of Christ; he was present on the Day of Pentecost, and involved in the ministry of the early church, though nothing is known of his specific ministry.
Scripture records a couple of events in the life of Andrew: He brought his brother Peter to Jesus, he was involved in the conversation about end times with the Lord along with Peter, James, and John. He pointed out the lad who had five barley loaves, and two small fishes, in which Jesus miraculously fed about five thousand people.
After Christ's ascension Andrew preached in Jerusalem. Tradition has it that he was crucified because of his rebuke of a person's adherence to idolatry. He was reportedly nailed to the cross in the form of an X, hence came the name St. Andrew's Cross.
A Bible commentary noted: Peter was one of those outstanding characters in the Bible's gallery of men, which if all were known would require a book to fully expound on his life and labors. He became the leader and spokesmen of the Twelve. He was one of the three disciples to witness the raising of Jairus' daughter, the Transfiguration, and the Lord's agony in the Garden.
He himself became a miracle worker, especially during the time portrayed in the Book of Acts. He became the leader of the infant Church. He made a confession of Christ's deity which became the foundation of the Church, and was given the privilege of opening the door of salvation to the Jews. Peter suffered martyrdom by crucifixion as Christ prophesied he would.
One can readily see why Andrew was but the shadow of Peter in comparison to recorded works, but the fact remains he was one of Jesus' disciples, had a ministry of his own after Jesus' ascension to be with His Father.
One may look on one's own accomplishments, during a life in Christ, as not being as significant as that of another, nor having been in the limelight as others, but it does not mean one's ministry is of less importance. Again, in the body of Christ (the Church) there are many members and each member is placed according to where the Master Builder desires.
It takes every piece of a puzzle to make a complete picture; if just one piece is missing, it cannot be come to its completion. Some pieces of the puzzle may be seemingly more important, and noticeable, but it takes all to complete the puzzle! The same is true to those who have dedicated their life to the Lord; no matter how long one's service or how important or unimportant it may seem (as in the shadow of Peter concept); of upmost importance in being in God's perfect will for one's life!
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