Give Your 9-to-5 to Jesus

Now Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, and the crowd was pressing around him to hear the word of God. He saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then Jesus sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing! But at your word I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets started to tear. So they motioned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both boats, so that they were about to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” For Peter and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so were James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were Simon’s business partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching people.” So when they had brought their boats to shore, they left everything and followed him.

—Luke 5:1–11 (NET)

What would you do if Jesus showed up at work? Imagine Him there in the break room by the vending machines. Maybe you see Him in the cab of your truck, out on the road with you, helping make deliveries. It could be He’s sharing your desk space as you bang something out on your laptop. Or perhaps He’s lending a hand at your latest job site.

It’s a weird thought, right? Too often, we relegate Jesus to the world of the Bible or to church on Sunday. We don’t think about Him belonging at our jobs. The Bible, however, tells us about a time when Jesus showed up at Peter’s workplace. Peter and his business partners had just come in from a long night of fishing the Sea of Galilee, and there was Jesus, standing on the shoreline.

In the New Testament, Peter doesn’t usually get things right the first time, but in this instance, his example is one we can all follow. First, Peter made his job a platform for the gospel—literally. Jesus got into Peter’s boat and asked him to push out from shore (Luke 5:3). Peter obeyed, even though he was exhausted. And from that well-worn fishing boat, the good news of God’s kingdom was proclaimed to the nearby crowds. It seems God doesn’t give us a hiatus from the Great Commission when we arrive at work. Like Peter, we can use our careers to further the gospel, no matter what we do for a living.

Second, Peter understood that Jesus is the only Boss who really matters. Peter was an experienced fisherman. He knew the best times and the best places to land a catch. The Sea of Galilee was his turf—or more properly, his surf. There wasn’t much that could surprise Him. And Jesus—well, He was a builder by trade. He shouldn’t have known the first thing about commercial fishing. Yet when the Lord told Peter to put out into deeper water and let down his freshly cleaned nets for a catch, Peter obeyed (Luke 5:46). He and his men caught so many fish that their nets began to tear. Though we may be experts in our given fields, Jesus still knows best.

Finally, when it came time, Peter gave up his livelihood to follow Jesus. “And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him” (Luke 5:11 ESV). Wherever we work, we serve at Jesus’ pleasure. So, if He tells us to change how we do our jobs, take a promotion or pass one up, or even give our two weeks’ notice, it’s the right career move.

“Our daily work can be a calling only if it is reconceived as God’s assignment to serve others.”

—Timothy Keller—

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