Well this is a battle for the ages! :)
Spent a few days with a good friend. She works at an awesome place that provides shelter for pregnant women, and battered women. Kinda makes you feel proud to be a human when you see these kinds of places. Makes you feel embarassed to be human when you hear some of these girls stories. My friend is a great minister to these gals, and has developed some great ways to help them explore their spirituality using the arts and I am very proud of her.
She told my wife and I about an amazing psychologist that works at the shelter. He is very well known, and in high demand. But he stays at the shelter, has for thirty years. He busses groups to his home for barbeques and picnics. He is on call 24/7. He says he needs to be there for these girls for the long term, that they need to know someone is there for them and will be for the foreseeable future. I really admire that. It is an amazing thing he is doing. And its an amazing thing my friend is doing. They are Peters.
You see Peter stayed in Jerusalem. When the persecution got very intense and the church was forced outwards and underground Peter stayed in Jerusalem. He lead the church. He was the stability, the centre of the whole thing really. He dealt with long term conflicts, prejudices and personality problems. He dealt with financial hardships, jealousies, and sin. Peter stayed in one place, and everyone knew how and where to get ahold of him. And without him the church most likely would have suffered.
But there is another central character in the New Testement story. Paul, was not in one place long. Paul went from city to city, sometimes only staying for a few weeks. He started churches and left. Maybe he visited them again, maybe he sent them letters, but he certainly didn't stay. He was called to start stuff, not manage it. And I imagine lots of people were not too happy with him sometimes.
I am a Paul. I sometimes love being a Paul. Its very exciting, its dangerous, and its always new. The satisfaction I get from telling people about Jesus and figuring out how best to tell my story in new social settings is the most fun I can have. And to tell the truth I sometimes get bored if I am in one setting too long. But it also hurts like hell to be a Paul. I make deep caring relationships with people that are like family to me, and then I leave them. I lead people to Jesus, disciple people, empower them for ministry and then leave them to others to continue. Nobody sees the tears that accompany those things. But what gives me peace, is that I always know, I don't think, but I really know, that I am following my call and gifting, and the Spirits leading. People don't realize how hard it is when they try and entice me to be a Peter. There is much in me that wishes I could, the lure of that life is very strong, and for me I believe sinful.
Now the Peters face similiar issues. They can get bored, they can desire new borders and new adventures. They can get tired of the same old shite day in and day out. They can get soooo tired of certain individuals that keeps coming back to the same stupid place they were before. And these Peters will desire if only for a little while to join the Pauls. But they get other benefits, long term relationships, some kind of security and often they get to see the fruits of their labour and receive praise for all they have done.
The fact is however, that we need Peters and Pauls. Without Paul the gospel would have been restricted to a single social setting. Without Peter the church would have had no foundation. Now I, being a Paul, could point out that Jesus left the disciples, and so Jesus is more like Paul, but that doesn't fly because Jesus also said He'd never leave us or forsake us. And that is what I count on, that no matter if you are a Peter or a Paul, Jesus is always present, not just for you, but for those you minister with.
Looking back on my life I see that often times those I have ministered with, and cried over leaving, have become much truer and empowered disciples by my leaving. And I could say that those the doctor has ministered to have become truer and more empowered, because he stayed. That is the way this thing works. The gifts are beautiful because they are both needed and designed by God.
But I experience the scripture in a very profound and deep way, that tells of Paul, calling the elders of the church at Ephesus to come to him by the shore. And in tears he tells them he will not see them again. And that he did not want to come to their city, or else it would be too hard to leave. Seeing my friends and family here, I can relate so much. I miss them terribly. And my heart will break to leave again. But...
my friends in Australia want us back. And someday, not too soon I hope, I will have to say goodbye to them as well. In the end I must follow my Lord in whatever way he has called me. And it only does me bad to wish for a different calling. Rather I wish for myself and for my friends, that we would live in the presence, and power of Jesus. For the kingdom of God, is for those that really understand what it means to obey the king.