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Monday, October 4, 2010

Which Disciple Are You?

Just like there are different kinds of people, there are different kinds of disciples.  (For purposes of this post, I’m using the term “disciple” to refer to people who follow Jesus.)

Consider three different disciples who followed Jesus:  Peter, Thomas, and Phillip. 

We’ll start with Peter.  Peter is always jumping in head first.  He acts without thinking.  He’s extremely zealous, and because he’s impulsive by nature he makes lots of mistakes. 

Peter likes action.  He’s the guy (or gal) who thinks, Wow, walking on water looks pretty cool, I think I’ll give it a try.  But then he gets in over his head, loses sight of Jesus, and falls in.  At least none of us would accuse Peter of standing still.

Thomas, on the other hand, is slow to act.  You have to push Thomas into the water.  He doesn’t like to get wet.

In addition, Thomas has to see it to believe it.  And even when he sees it, it’s still so hard to believe.  Thomas is thoughtful and deliberate.  He’s not going to drink the Kool-Aid without reading the ingredients and doing some research.  Yet when Thomas is convinced, you know it’s for real.

Finally, Phillip has a completely different style all together.  Phillip isn’t afraid to experience his faith.  He longs to be in the middle of spiritual activity, and he tends to bring others along on his journey.  For Phillip, faith is relational.  He’s not afraid to jump in the water, but he might just take you with him. 

Most of us are some combination of Peter, Thomas, or Phillip.  When I first heard it explained this way, I thought, Which disciple am I?  Then I thought about my closest family and friends and thought,  Which disciple are they?  Then I immediately thought, Which disciple is the best?

I started to miss the point. 

Peter, Thomas, and Phillip all approached Jesus with unique backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses.  Yes, we can learn from them.  But thank God they’re different.

Do any of them sound familiar? 


So, which disciple are you?


Julie Cragon said...

I love this question. My first thought was that I'm a Thomas but I admit, I rarely even bother to read an instruction and I don't really need to see to believe although I'd love one great sign just for me. I'd like to be Philip, dragging others along with me to Christ and in some ways... I see myself mostly like Peter. I jump in every boat I think might be sailing in a great direction and often get in over my head. I feel like I'm sinking when I let all these wonderful opportunities be about me instead of Him. I have to constantly be pulled back in. Lots to think about.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I've always identified with Peter. I have a fearless side of me, but impulse does create mistakes. So I find I have a lot of learning and relearning to do.

But I live passionately, that's for sure. ;D
~ Wendy

Heidiopia said...

I've never been much of a Peter, I used to be more of Thomas, but find myself more like Philip these days... curious isn't it? Maybe we are all different disciples at different times in life. Great "thinking question" as I like to tell my Little People :)

Richard Mabry said...

Wow, I think I have the worst characteristics of all three. You've really made me think. Thanks.

T. Anne said...

I would say Philip then Thomas, although I admire Peter's spunk and tenacity! Very cool way to look at ourselves in light of who we are in the church!

BigD said...

Of those three, I really don't know. I can see parts of each of them in myself.
Actually, I just always wrote myself off as a Martha.

Jennie said...

I'm Thomas, without a doubt. I am hesitant, overly logical, and it often presents itself negatively, but in my own selfish mind it makes sense!

It's not just how I am with my faith, but everything I encounter in life.

I was going to type up my career-crisis analogy, but I'll spare you.

Instead, I'll just say -

Excellent post, Susan! You definitely got me thinking on this!

Susan DiMickele said...

Yeah, I'm a combo. Probably more of a Peter than anything else!

Anonymous said...

Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

- Daniel