"And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him” (Mark 1:16-18).
Remember being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”? Often the answer we give to that question is a response about into what kind of career field we want to enter. For example, we may respond by saying, “I want to be a doctor, football player, accountant, etc.” There is nothing wrong with striving to enter into a particular career field, but is there something more we should desire to be when we are grown up that just having a career?
In the opening passage above, we see Jesus encountering Simon (i.e. also known as Peter) and Andrew and pointing them to a higher calling than just their career (Mark 1:16-18). The theme or main message of the book of Mark is captured in a single verse: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Chapter by chapter, the book unfolds the dual focus of Christ’s life: service and sacrifice. However, as the book opens not only does it speak of Christ’s service for us, but encourages us to think about our service to God and man.
Simon and Andrew had been fisherman. It appears they had a successful fishing business as they were partners with James and John (Luke 5:7-10). They were also spiritual individuals who were followers of John the Baptist (John 1:35-42). Furthermore, we know that Simon was a family man who had a wife and children (cf. Mark 1:30; 1 Peter 5:1, i.e. Peter was an elder, elders had to have children, 1 Timothy 3:1-4). Many would consider that Simon and Andrew had reached the pinnacle of their calling in life. They had a family, a successful career, and were spiritual men seeking to worship God and pursue His Will for their lives.
However, did God have a greater purpose for their lives than just this? Yes, He did! As the opening passage above states, Jesus encourages them to follow Him and He will make them to become “fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). God had far greater goals in mind for Peter and Andrew to pursue than just worshipping God, having a family, and having a successful career. God called them to a far noble purpose as they were to be trained by God’s Son to be used as instruments of God to reach lost men with the good news of Christ. To Peter and Andrews credit, when Christ called them to this higher purpose, “they immediately left their nets and followed Him” (Mark 1:18).
What is my purpose in life? Is there something God has in store for me than just having a career, raising a family, and worshipping God on Sunday morning? Yes, there is! God has called all of us to serve in some way to be “fishers of men”. While all of us may not be teachers or preachers, all of us have been called to ministry to serve both God and man in the church (Ephesians 4:11-16). This is not meant to be a guilt trip. We should not serve Jesus out of guilt, but out of love. It can be exciting to think “to what higher purpose has Jesus called me?”? I will remember that I have been called to a higher purpose. Today, if I have not discovered my particular ministry, I will seek it. If I have found my ministry, I will seek for opportunities to serve others as I seek to glorify God (Matthew 5:16)!
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended : but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).