“Lord, let me do something of eternal significance, something that really matters to you! This job is a waste of time; a waste of my life!”
I had been earnestly praying at the front of the church for perhaps 10 minutes, but in one sense I had been there for years. Years of struggling to serve God in a number of church roles, working in corporate middle management, being a husband and father. I was ready to do anything, make any change just to find a way to follow Jesus the way Simon and Andrew did when they left their nets.
Fishing and mending nets isn’t full-time Kingdom work!
How often had Simon and Andrew wondered about the value of their day-to-day work; looking for something more significant, fulfilling and lasting? Their history pointed to a life of privilege and favour, a nation with a purpose and a divine calling to show the nations around what it was like to be chosen by God. Chosen to be a lamppost at the crossroads of the world lighting the only way to be fully alive.
But here they were in the middle of the lake casting a net to fish. Again. Just like yesterday, and the day before that. There must be more than this.
Jesus offered the fishermen an attractive opportunity and the invitation to follow him.
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
Simon and Andrew didn’t respond with, “But Jesus, if we don’t get this net in there will be no fish to sell!” or “Sure. We’ll just finish pulling in this net we just cast and we’ll be right with you.”
At once they left their nets and followed him.
There was no question of continuing to rely on the fishing business for their daily needs; they took action and followed Jesus instead.
If we are serious about serving Jesus, then we must answer his call with action – following him and relying on him to provide all we need. Go into full-time ministry.
What part of my business does Jesus not want to use? Which activities are secular rather than sacred, and so fall outside of his Lordship? Is faith only for Sundays, mission only a spare time activity?
To find out, look at the ways Jesus interacted with Simon & Andrew’s fishing business:
A Platform for Teaching the Word of God
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding round him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
A Vehicle for God’s Strategy
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon Peter, “Put out into deep water, and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we have worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
A Metaphor for the Next Call
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men” So they pulled up their boats onto the shore, left everything and followed him.
No sacred/secular divide here. Jesus uses the fishing business as a platform, an opportunity to provide, and to prepare his disciples for their future calling. I am sure that Jesus uses the responsibility and diligence of business to prepare us to handle spiritual responsibility too (Luke 16:10-12).
Consecrated coaching glorifies God. Jesus invites us to live our whole lives to him, not separate them into artificial compartments. Darrow L. Miller sums this up in Life Work:
There are not two worlds to live in, nor two types of lives to live. All of life, including the hours of my work, is to be lived coram Deo (in intimate, personal relationship with God), for the advancement of God’s kingdom, for the glory of the Lord of heaven and earth.
How is Your Coaching Practice:
- A platform for declaring the word of God?
- A vehicle for God’s strategy?
- A metaphor for the next call?
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Love this!! I think we (modern American Christians) tend to put God into “boxes” but He is interested in ALL of our lives and can use all of it for His glory.
Absolutely. Seeing it is at least half way to solving it though, Cheryl. The sacred/secular divide goes back a long way, so scriptural truth is vital in recognising it in others. Oh, and maybe in me too.
Thank you for your excellent comments, Geoff. Well said!