Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” (Luke 5:10).
Jesus had vision for His disciples. As a pastor, I get really excited when the Lord gives me insight into how He is working in someone’s life, and who He is shaping that person to become. It is exhilarating to catch a glimpse of the wonderful things my Heavenly Father has in store for someone I love. Today, however, when I read this passage of Scripture, I was reminded of the sobering and profound responsibility that comes with this tremendous privilege.
After His Heavenly Father gave Jesus this insight into what Simon would do, Jesus dedicated the rest of His earthly ministry to transitioning Simon from being a fisherman to becoming a Fisher of Men. He spent three years teaching and modeling for Simon what it meant to be a Fisher of Men, and releasing him to apply what he was learning. (Cf. Mark 6:7). If that is where Jesus had stopped, I think I (and most other pastors) would find discipling and shepherding challenging but manageable. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, however, record that Jesus also gave His life so that Simon could become a Fisher of Men, so that he could become Peter -- the rock upon which Jesus would build His church. (See Matthew 16:18). Jesus gave all that He had, even pouring out His own life, so that Simon could become Peter, a Fisher of Men.
The implications for my own life and ministry are clear! When the Lord grants me the privilege of receiving spiritual insight into who He has made (and is shaping) someone to be, that privilege is granted with an attendant responsibility: personal sacrifice. Like Jesus, more is required of me than teaching or modeling the things of the Kingdom. I also must be willing to sacrifice all that I am in Christ so that someone else can become all that God has purposed for him or her to be in Christ! I must be willing not to be (to die) so that another might become!
To be or not to be! That is indeed the fundamental question for anyone who serves as a shepherd for the Most High!