What job did the disciples do before they became disciples? Where did Jesus find his help? All too often, I think we forget who Jesus calls to do his work, and what we are really called to do. Many of us know that Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen, and that Levi was a tax collector. But, what about the rest? Truth is, the bible doesn’t really reveal what the rest of the disciples did.
We often lose our identity in our jobs, our titles, or position. But these things didn’t appear to be significant to Jesus. The positions he does mention are those of common workers. They aren’t the boss, the leader, or the priest. Just a corrupt tax collector and a few common fishermen. When Jesus looked for servants, he didn’t only look at those who were climbing the corporate ladder, or those who were working in the synagogue. Jesus looked at common, hard-working people. He went to them; in their places of work. He didn’t wait until they were done for the day and headed home, he met them in their workplace.
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. Mark 1:16
If Jesus showed up at work to find his disciples, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to believe Jesus still shows up where we work, looking for someone who will follow his lead. We have this preconceived notion of who Jesus might use. Somehow we have missed the connection that Jesus took ordinary workers, mentored them, taught them, and charged them with going into all the world.
If you think about a fisherman’s personality profile, I’m guessing you might find many who were introverts. When Jesus found these three fishermen, they were casting their nets. They weren’t telling someone else how to cast the net. They were getting their hands dirty and doing the work themselves. These were the men he chose to carry out his vision of sharing the gospel. They were quiet guys who worked hard with their hands, to get the job done in less than ideal conditions.
Today, we think sharing the gospel is the job of the church, pastors, or missionaries. Now, don’t get me wrong, these people each play an important role, but what do we learn from the stories in the bible? The bible makes a point of telling us that Jesus used ordinary people, and that through those ordinary, hardworking people, he built a following that is providing hope and impacting lives even today.
Have you ever felt you weren’t significant enough; that what you do is simply a stepping stone to something more meaningful and purposeful? It does not matter if you are scrubbing the hallways, or flipping burgers, or leading a multi-million dollar company; your work matters to God. Don’t wait until you know more or are in a better position. Invite God to use you, right where you are!
You may be surprised how he will use you to show his love in the place where you work, each day.
Questions for Reflection
- Are you a “get your hands dirty” type of worker (literally or figuratively)? If so, how might your hands-on approach afford you the opportunity to interact with others in a fashion similar to Jesus?
- Does the realization that Jesus found ordinary individuals to do extraordinary things inspire a response from you? How might you strive to do something extraordinary in your ordinary life next week?
- Do you mentally assign the job of sharing the gospel to the church or missionaries? How might a new viewpoint of Jesus using fishermen empower you to respond differently?