And Peter stayed a long time in Joppa, living with Simon, a tanner of hides. (Acts 9:43)
So... Who is this guy, Simon the tanner? I was somewhat intrigued today when I was reading the story of Peter traveling to Joppa to heal a couple of folks... well... actually raising one from the dead (all in a day's work for Pete, I guess). This is all going on in Acts 9 and flows over into chapter 10, as we're introduced to Simon the tanner. He's actually mentioned three times in these two chapters and nowhere else... "Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea".
Interesting thing about tanners in bible times is they were not well liked... actually pretty much social outcasts. They were forced to live outside the city mainly because of the stench of dead animals and dead flesh wafting out of their tanning sheds every day. They were also outcasts from the religious establishment of the day because of being in a constant state of being ceremonially unclean due to the Jewish law about touching dead carcasses (see Leviticus 11:24).
Now... along comes Saint Pete who decides, not just to stop and say, "Hi" to this smelly, unclean, social and religious outcast, but to stay several days with him! In his house! Next to the tanning shed! No wonder, when Peter got hungry, he went up on the roof to pray and eat (Acts 10:9-10)... probably hoping the sea salt air would clear his nostrils.
Are you ready for this? Here's what God showed me today...
Leather is a symbol of perseverance and the staying power which one needs in difficult situations. Don't concern yourself with being unique, an outcast and to be outside the "norm" of the religious establishment. Not fitting in and being able to stand alone will attract people walking in the power of my Holy Spirit who will have a profound impact on you and others for the kingdom. I created you to be unique and to be one of a kind. In your calling, you will clothe others with the strong garment of power and perseverance. Your aroma may repel some but will draw in others. Never underestimate what I am doing in and through you. Keep in mind... the birth of the entire Gentile church you are experiencing today started on the roof of the outcast, Simon, the tanner's house! Stay strong! Clothe yourself with perseverance.
Lord... equip me to persevere... to stand alone... to smell like you! Repel those from my life who want to pull me down and bring those in my life who are also persevering in your power, love and grace. I invite them to my rooftop... to join me in making a forceful impact for your kingdom!