Devotional: Ways Disciples Used Their Strengths, Part 2

          “That’s Wonderful!” or “Give Me Proof!”

          How Do You Process Information?

          Ways the Disciples Used Their Strengths, Part 2

          Jesus’ disciples demonstrate the value of different strengths in solving problems, processing information, managing change, and facing risk.

          empty tomb

          Image: Turn Back to God

          Put yourself in their sandals on the first Easter morning. How would you process the information of an empty tomb?

          Mary and Peter had two distinct approaches, yet God uses them both to show us the value in different ways people process information.

          Process Information: “That’s Wonderful!” versus “Give Me Proof”

          The morning after the Sabbath, Mary and other women went to Jesus’ tomb to prepare His body for a proper burial. There had been no time on Friday, just before the Sabbath, to do so. Now the women saw the tombstone rolled away and found themselves face to face with two angels who said, “He is not here. He is risen!” (Luke 24:6, NIV). As classic Optimist, Mary and the women were trusting. They processed this information and accepted it. Their response to the empty tomb? “That’s wonderful!”

          Yet when Mary shared the news with the disciples, “They did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense” (Luke 24:11, NIV). As a Realist, Peter’s response to new information was, “Give me proof!” He needed to validate the information for himself. Peter ran to the tomb.  He saw the strips of cloth at the grave, recalled Jesus’ words – and later saw the risen Lord. With the confirmation he needed, Peter was fully convinced of the resurrection. He went on to lead the new church.

          Trust and Validation

          When it comes to processing information, Mary and Peter represent two different approaches: trust and validation.

          Both are strengths.

          Over and over in scripture, God asks us to trust Him. Even on the night before His death, Jesus told His disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1, NIV). Mary followed this route. As she processed the information at the tomb, she trusted what Jesus had told her previously about His death, observed the immediate situation, and connected the dots. She was accepting and trusting.

          Yet God also tells us to test information. “Watch out that no one deceives you,” Jesus warned the disciples (Matthew 24:4, NIV). Jesus’ caution is to take care when listening to claims or hearing news. Peter’s skeptical nature followed this course. He did not dismiss Mary’s report outright. Instead, he cautiously and methodically set out to examine the facts on his own and come to a logical conclusion: Jesus was alive.

          Processing Information: God Uses Both Approaches

          Where would God’s church be without those who accept information and step out in faith? We need Marys who say, “I trust this information. This is wonderful!”

          Yet confirming the facts provides a strong foundation for next steps.  The church needs Peters who say, “Let’s validate this information before we move forward.”

          Trust and validation – both are strengths.

          Use yours. Validate those who use a different approach than you. And then step out in faith to trust them to complete your strengths.

          Growth Point
          God can use your strengths in processing information, whether you are an Optimist or a Realist.Scripture
          But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. (Luke 24:11-12, NIV)Prayer Points

          • With whom do you identify more: Mary or Peter?
          • Name a time when your approach to processing information was a benefit to another person.
          • Consider those in your family or on your team who process information differently from you. Spend some time thanking God for the way their strengths complete you.

          More Ways the Disciples Used Their Strengths

          Part 1: Managing Change – Let’s Go or Let’s Make a Plan

          Part 3: Solving Problems – Fix It Now or One Step at a Time

          Part 4: Facing Risk: Outside the Box or Work the System

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