When I was teaching at The King’s University, part of my job was advising students about the courses they needed to take to achieve a certain degree. Sometimes a student would tell me they were having a difficult time deciding just what their major area of study should be.
“Dr. Bruinsma, I’m thinking of studying to become a biologist,” a student once asked, “but what if God wants me to be a plumber? Then I’ll be wasting valuable years of my life studying the wrong subject. How can I be sure what God’s plan for my life is?” It can be difficult to know or to decide for just what job or occupation we should prepare ourselves.
Many of Jesus’ disciples started out their lives as fishermen. Every day they went out in their little boats and cast their nets into the water of the Sea of Galilee hoping to catch enough fish to feed their families and to have enough left over to sell for cash to buy other things they needed to live. When they weren’t out fishing, they were often on shore fixing their nets that were torn or simply worn out. Fishermen were not thought of as very important people. If someone who didn’t know them would have asked, “What do you do for a living?” they probably would have answered, “Oh, nothing special, I’m just an ordinary fisherman.”
Following & fishing
But then one day Jesus, (who was among other things a carpenter), came by and called out to a fisherman named Peter, “Hey, Peter, come and follow me.” And Peter jumped out of his boat and followed Jesus. A little further on, Jesus saw another couple of fishermen, James and John, fixing their nets and asked them to follow him too. Jesus called nine other men to follow him, and they became his disciples, which means followers. For more than three years these disciples learned who Jesus really was, and later they became missionaries who told others about Jesus. But, sometimes, we read in the Bible, Peter, James and John went back to fishing because that was still their job.
I don’t think that Jesus cares all that much about what job or career you have. But he does have a plan for your life, whether as a child or as an adult. His plan is for you to be a disciple – a follower of his. As a Jesus follower you will be a person who does whatever job you have with joy and care as if you were doing it specially for the Lord – whether that’s being a heart surgeon or a car mechanic, a garbage collector or an astronaut, a fisher person or a gardener. God’s plan for each of us is that we grow up to be honest and kind to everyone we meet, to be good fathers or mothers if we have children, to take care of the earth, and to be thankful servants in God’s great big, wide world. That’s God’s plan for your life and for my life.