“…go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first.”
– Matthew 17:27
Peter can be viewed as an entrepreneur. He had a boat and a fishing business with his brother. As with any activity, there are times of struggle and times of great success. In Peter’s life, his most successful business day happened to be the day Jesus called him to leave it and begin following Him. On that famous day, there were so many fish that the nets were breaking, and the boats were sinking. Not only that, everyone around watching that day stood in astonishment of how much they had caught. It would be a fishing story in the area for many years to come. Peter and his crew would have certainly had their names “in lights!”
Some commentators had proclaimed that Peter was humbled when he had to go back and fish in a humiliating way. A once-famous fisherman now standing on the shore, poor, no boat or nets, just standing there with a hook and line looking for one fish, all in front of his peers. Others have said that Jesus sometimes allows us to enjoy a little pleasure with business, and since Peter liked to fish, Jesus granted him the opportunity to go back to his profession for just a moment.
One day we will know why Jesus told Peter to receive the Temple Tax this way. For me personally, I like to view this setting in a different light. It could be that the Lord Jesus was testing Peter’s heart. Would Peter be obedient and do precisely as commanded, or would he jump in a boat and go back?
I like to think of Peter standing on the shore with a line in his hands waiting for that fish Jesus promised. And as he stands on the beach looking out to the ocean and his eyes upon those fishing in boats, he daydreams a little. And with a gentle smile and calming peace in his heart, he remembers good times with his brother and friends. And at the same time, Peter can think of no better life than following the One who called him into service. Although Peter missed the “glory days,” much better times with Christ were still ahead.
What we do for a living is just that; it is what we do and not who we are. Unfortunately, we identify ourselves with our vocation and not with our Savior. When we do that, we do not always use the gifts and talents He has given us to lift up His name. Be thankful for where the Lord has placed you now while at the same time remaining open and available to move into the places He is calling you.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
– Jeremiah 29:11