Have you ever read a passage that was written by the apostle Paul and thought, “That’s too hard for me to understand.” If you have, don’t feel bad. We’ve all been there. Even the apostle Peter sometimes had trouble with the depths of Paul’s intellect. Don’t believe me? Check out Peter’s words from 2 Peter 3:14-16:
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation – as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do the rest of the Scriptures. (N.K.J.V.)
Notice please that even though Peter readily admitted that some of Paul’s writings were hard to understand, he also praised those writings. You see, Peter was an unlearned fisherman and Paul was a scholarly theologian, but there was no rivalry. Each man sincerely appreciated the other one’s ministry.
I hope you understand that the world needs Peters. I also hope you understand that it needs Pauls too. Peter can reach types of people that Paul can’t, just as Paul can reach types that Peter can’t. Since God doesn’t use a cookie-cutter or an assembly line when He creates people, we should never confine ministry to one particular type of Christian. The fact is, if you are a Christian and you are breathing, God can use you in His service.
It’s been said that when a preacher tries to imitate another preacher, the pulpit stands empty. For one thing, the preacher being imitated isn’t there because no matter how close the mimicking is, no man can perfectly duplicate another. For another thing, the man who is actually standing in the pulpit isn’t truly there because he has forfeited his individuality by trying to be someone else.
But this basic idea doesn’t just apply to a preacher standing in a pulpit. It also goes for any Christian who tries to serve the Lord. Let us never forget that individuality is a good thing. My spiritual gifts and talents aren’t yours, Christian, and yours aren’t mine. (Read what Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 if you don’t believe me.) So be yourself when it comes to serving Christ, and I know that He will use you in incredible ways.