Have you ever sat down and had a think to yourself – I wonder what I will do with my life?
Have you ever wondered what on earth you are doing with your life right now, and is it actually any use to anyone?
You have been given gifts and talents by God, and He wants you to use them – no question. But God doesn’t always just want to use the gifts you have, sometimes He acts supernaturally to change you into something else entirely. Don’t believe me? I could provide many, many examples, but one of the greatest of these is Peter, the apostle. Peter, the Rock.
I sat down to do a biography of Peter and his life, but it became long very quickly (a quick search shows 846 references to Peter in the New Testament)! So let’s just cover some of the high (and low) points.
Peter was a fisherman, in business with his brother Andrew. Possibly, as was often the way, from a family of fishermen. He was a Jew, and was interested religiously in what was going on around him, as most definitely was his brother. If you read John 1, Andrew meets Jesus the day after He was baptised, and possibly witnessed his baptism – he was a disciple of John the Baptist. Upon meeting Jesus, Andrew called Peter to meet him as well, describing him as’ the Messiah’. This would have caught the ear of any Jew at that time!
Later (we don’t know how much later after this), Jesus calls Andrew and Peter to leave their nets and be his disciples. Peter is then chosen as one of the 12, and based on all of the evidence, was most likely the leader of all of the disciples, certainly after Jesus ascension into heaven.
But Peter was also always the guy to speak up, to jump out. Think of all the stories you know about Peter. He was the one to declare Jesus as ‘the Christ’. He was the one to rebuke Jesus for predicting His death (quite possibly moments after confessing Him as the Christ). He was the one to tell Jesus to command him to walk on water. When Jesus was being arrested, he was the one to pull out a sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. If it was there to be done or said, Peter was often there in the thick of it.
And Peter was the one to deny Jesus (though the others also all scattered), despite his protestations that he would rather die than deny Him.
After Jesus had been resurrected, Peter didn’t know where to go next by the looks of it. But he had a skill – he had a gift – he went back to his boat and started fishing again.Jesus was gone, and despite all the good work, the three years of discipleship, at the moment of crisis, Peter had failed and he knew it.
But Jesus wasn’t done with him just yet. All of the work up until this point had been preparation for the rest of his life. Not a mountain top experience to remember all of his days while he cast the nets, but the foundation for what would come next.
If you read John 21, Jesus went out of His way to restore Peter, and put his feet on a new path.
That is when we get ‘changed’ Peter (read the first 12 chapters of Acts!). He takes immediate obvious leadership in the church in Jerusalem. He preaches and over 2000 people are converted in a day. In the name of Jesus he performs miracles, the healing of a cripple, and raising a lady in Joppa from the dead (in some ways mimicking Jesus ministry, to show that through the apostles it was continuing). He is then called to witness to the Gentiles, does so, and holds authority back in Jerusalem when he is questioned.
You see, God had a plan for Peter, and whilst it meant some of his life casting nets, there was much more in store for him when he was fully prepared and trained. Peter underwent the ultimate change – from a fisherman, to a fisher of men.
Just like Peter, God many not be done with you or me yet.
Just because you are skilled in one area, doesn’t mean that is where you will spend your life in service. Just because you know how to do a specific set of things now, doesn’t mean you will spend your life doing those things. Because God has a plan for your life – and what you are doing now may just be to prepare and place you, so that when the right time comes you will be ready for whatever He has in store for you.
So remember – God is either using you, or preparing you. You are not useless or wasted where you are, but you are a chosen child of God, doing what He has called you to do. And maybe, just maybe, He has more in store for you than you would ever believe.