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Jul10ThuDon't be distracted from your life's mission. July 10, 2014 by Major Mark Wagner
My sister-in-law met a man whose name was Adolf Hitler. She, of course, couldn't resist inquiring about his uncommon name. It turns out that he had come from Africa. He spoke another language and wanted a name that would be easy to remember in English. His mother helped him research great world leaders and they stumbled upon the German dictator, not really aware of his infamous past.
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- Opinion & Critical Thought
That's unfortunate. But not as unfortunate as a person who has a clear and proper understanding of his or her purpose and then chooses to go awry. That was Peter. Jesus had given him very clear instructions about his life-mission: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19 ESV).
Fishers of men. That was the commission. Peter and his fellows were supposed to invest their lives in discipling people. They were to leave their fishing nets behind and learn the art of fishing for souls. They had an eternally significant task to pursue at all costs.
After Jesus died, all the disciples were confused. Their haziness seemed to continue even after they had met the newly-resurrected Jesus—even though they had seen him in the flesh and spoken with him.
And so, one day, on the sunny shore of the Sea of Tiberius (the fancy Roman name for the Sea of Galilee), Peter boldly and impetuously decided to go fishing. For fish. That's what he used to do. He was good at it. It was the trade his father had taught him.
But it wasn't the kind of fishing Jesus had called him to. And there was another problem. Do you see it as you read the text?
“Simon Peter said to them, 'I am going fishing.' They said to him, 'We will go with you.' ” (John 21:3 ESV).
That's right. Not only did he wander off in the wrong direction, he also took his followers down the garden path with him. Peter was a leader and when he went boldly off in the wrong direction, he influenced others to do the same.
Are you going where God has called you to go? If so, look over your shoulder. You may see that your influence is affecting others. Never settle for a fishing dinghy when you have been assigned a “disciple-ship!”
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o'er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
—Rescue the Perishing, Fanny Crosby, 1869
Major Mark Wagner is the corps officer of Hope Community Church in Ajax, Ont. His blog can be found at www.amusingmark.tumblr.com.