If you were to ask me...right now, this second...what my "profession" is, I'd tell you I'm a professional speaker and writer. I'm not really sure which one came from which; kind of like the proverbial chicken and the egg. Either way, I'm in ministry, for sure.
But years ago, had you asked me the same question, I would have said, "I'm a nurse." Still, before the studies and the work, I've always written, always been the one asked by teachers and youth leaders to stand before an audience or congregation to represent my club or age group. The Lord was preparing me for a calling and a work that would take nearly forty years to reach...and, in which I had no clue of.
Peter Was A Fisherman
If, before Peter met Jesus, he'd been...let's say...flying on a plane to go to some fisherman's conference ("Honey, we'll be looking at the latest innovations in netting, boat repair, and hooks vs. spears."), his seatmate might have turned to him and said, "So, what's your name?"
We talked about "names" in the previous installment of this series (https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/1252229.html)
The next question would have been the one those of us who fly regularly have come to expect: "And, what do you do for a living?"
"I'm a fisherman," Peter would have answered.
Same scenario, but this time Peter has walked with the Lord, witnessed His resurrected body ascend to the clouds, and has been baptized by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. He's heading for another fisherman's conference ("Honey, we'll be looking at the latest in witness tracts, anointing oils, and prayer books.), his seatmate turns to him and asks the same question. "And, what do you do for a living?"
"I'm a fisherman," Peter would have answered. This time, however, he was a fisher of men.
BC (Before the Christ)
Peter was from Galilee, specifically Bethsaida, which is located on the west coast of the Sea of Galilee. Of The Twelve, Peter, his brother Andrew, and Philip grew up in the fishing village. At some point, Peter and Andrew became business partners with Zebedee and his sons, James and John. For the most part, James, John, and Peter would become the inner circle with the Messiah.
Fishermen were not high on the Galilean social ladder. Their celebrity today is due to their being called by Jesus to be His disciples. The fishermen of Peter's day (as today) form a distinctive class. The work is hard. The fishermen themselves were, as I have often written, "rough" and "ragtag." Their speech was guttural. They were harsh in their treatment toward others.
The weather was a constant in their lives; they looked to it to determine the success or failure of fishing. They learned to be fearless in the face of it; their skin bore the evidence of it.
Patience was their companion. It was common - too common, sometimes - to fish all night and come back with nothing. Still, they kept repairing their broken boats, pushing them out in to the water, casting their nets, returning again to prepare their nets for the next time...and again and again...and on and on.
AD (After the Christ)
Could Peter have ever imagined that his work as a fisherman would lead him to greater understanding of ministry? As he prepared his nets or cast them, as he repaired boats that sometimes left one to wonder if it wouldn't be better off chopped up and used for firewood, as he stood in the face of the storms or under the blistering sun...could he have known this would prepare him to be a fisher of men?
Ministry is difficult today, but even more difficult when you're the man called upon by God to jumpstart this new relationship/religion with the Almighty. Christianity. The faith-title of those who follow the Christ. Jesus, the Son of God. The very city where he had hidden during the crucifixion was the place he made his home. He was jailed. He was beaten. He led the first Gentile convert to the Lord. He was a miracle man. He would work harder as a fisher of men than he'd ever worked as a fisherman.
But he was called...appointed...anointed. He was Peter.
Questions for Personal or Group Study
1. What ministry has God called you to? (Note: this does not have to be a formal ministry. Your ministry can be raising your children, anonymously taking out the garbage of the elderly couple next door, etc. Don't think only of the grand, think of what you know God has called you to do.)
2. Think back over the course of your life. Divide your life into quarters. What did you feel the calling of your life was the first quarter? The second? The third? The fourth?
3. As you look at the things you studied, the work you did, the choices you made (even the bad ones) can you see how God is using them to form what He wants from you right now?
Award-winning national speaker, Eva Marie Everson's work includes Intimate Moments with God and Intimate Encounters with God (Cook). She is the author of Shadow of Dreams, Summon the Shadows and Shadow of Light. (Barbour Fiction) She can be contacted for comments or for speaking engagement bookings at www.EvaMarieEverson.com