I was listening to a sermon the other day when the pastor mentioned the story of Jesus in the boat with Peter (found in Luke 5:1-11). To get you up to speed, the gist is that Peter (a fisherman by trade) had fished all night and not caught anything. When Jesus asked him to let down the nets one more time, Peter, while explaining that the situation was not worth trying again, was still willing to obey. It got me wondering why Jesus asked him to cast the net again. Certainly there must have been some lesson in this for Peter. It was, after all, immediately after this event that he dropped his nets and followed Jesus as one of His disciples answering Jesus’s invitation to become a “fisher of men.” I prayed about it and meditated on it and felt like the Lord showed me the following points.
The sequence of events allowed Peter to see what the next steps of faith in his purpose looked like. It helped him to understand how the intersection of his gifts and the world’s need could be aligned with Jesus’s present calling to him. It demonstrated that he could put faith in Jesus above his own skills, could trust in Jesus above his personal weaknesses, and that the purpose he felt was calling out to him was greater than the comfort of what he knew best. It also tested his motives.
Why did Jesus ask Peter to let down the net again?
1/ To help him have faith in Jesus above his own knowledge and strength.
Peter new fishing better than Jesus. Jesus was a carpenter by trade and a “fisher of men” by calling / passion / purpose. Peter needed to know that Jesus knew more than he did about his own strengths (fishing)—despite Jesus not having formal training to qualify that knowledge—because He was also God.
2/ To help him believe in his next calling.
Peter must’ve known something new was coming for him, or at least felt a deeper purpose within him than what he was currently doing, otherwise he never would’ve left what he was doing to follow Jesus. Even so, I can imagine how hesitant he may have felt about the situation. Peter understood fishing for fish, but he knew that Jesus knew more about fishing for people than he did. Peter needed to know that he could leave behind everything he had and follow Jesus without being left high and dry in an area he was not yet fully competent in.
3/ Jesus was also likely testing Peter.
Who leaves behind their career at the height of their success? Peter had never had a catch like that before, yet he was willing to leave it all behind to follow someone he did not fully know into territories he did not completely understand.
What can we learn from this?
The merging of your skills and the terrain that only God understands is where you belong to fulfill your purpose. Peter knew fishing, but God new people. Peter was willing to love people how he could with what he knew.
I can tell you that I faced a lot of pushback about leaving medicine to start coaching in a ministry-centered manner. But I knew that my skills and His calling had finally intersected in the way He intended for me to meet the needs of others by partnering with Him. It will not make sense to the world when you leave behind success for greater purpose. Go anyways.
Are you ready? Let’s get growing!