Matthew 4:18-20 (NIV)
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
My friend Jeff Stiggins oversees the Office of Congregational Excellence for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. That’s a really fancy title for a really important job. Jeff and his team pray, plan, coach, and encourage congregations to become the healthy, effective, and faithful family of believers God intends them to be.
Back in 2009, Jeff posted an article on his blog entitled, What if you don’t like fishing? In the post, Jeff referenced the scriptures where Jesus calls Andrew and Peter to leave their nets and follow him. If they did so, Jesus promised to make them “fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-18)
Jeff raised the idea that Jesus worded the invitation in this specific way because the disciples were fishermen. If the disciples had been bakers or lawyers, he would have worded it in a way specific to those professions.
This got me thinking, what might that have sounded like?
Jesus says, “Come follow me, and I will…
- Mail carriers- send you to carry Good News to your neighbors
- Electricians- empower you to bring light to the nations
- Mason- work alongside you to raise up spiritual houses made of living stones
- OB/GYN- breathe with you as you midwife new life in people and communities
- Guard- stand with you as you make people secure in their relationship with God
- Construction worker- supply the materials for us to build the Kingdom together
- Teacher- instruct you in how to make people wise in the ways of God
- Parent- rear you to raise up children of God
- Judge- give you the authority to release all who are imprisoned by sin and death
- Chef- share my recipes with you, so the world can taste and see that the Lord is good
- Farmer- cultivate through you a harvest of new believers
- Mechanic- give you the tools to repair broken souls
- Poet- open your lips to proclaim justice and freedom for those who have no voice
You get the idea. The point Jeff was trying to make was this.
God has already equipped me to make the contribution that God wants me to make. Sure, I grow and learn as I follow Jesus, but that doesn’t mean I’m trying to be something or someone I’m not. It means that as I follow Jesus, as I offer up to him all that I am, I become more fully who God created me to be. – Rev. Dr. Jeff Stiggins
So, who has God created you to be? In what ways can you use your gifts, skills, and influence to share the love of God with others and make a lasting difference in the world? What would your calling from Jesus sound like?
Disturbing stranger, You call and we follow.
You call, and we leave behind the nets of our past lives,
The things that bound and hold us,
Our old selves and old regrets. …
For calling and disturbing,
For surprising and making new,
For moving us towards wholeness,
We thank you Lord.
– Kate McIlhagga, The Iona Community
Click here, for more information on today’s featured artist, He Qi.
Click here, for a fantastic poem based on this scripture by Steve Garnaas Holmes entitled Fishers of People
For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.