And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
This was a turning point in the lives of Peter, Andrew, James, and John. It wasn’t just their nets and boats and fish that they left behind. It was everything they had and everything they were—their old identity, their old purpose, their old mindset. Fishing was what they had known. It was how they made their living. But Jesus comes to call them to a new occupation and a new life with Him.
But Jesus tells them not to fear, to not worry about their lives, their livelihood, their past, or their future. They didn’t have to worry about how they’d spend their time or what their purpose would be. They don’t have to worry about launching out to sea and letting down their nets to catch fish anymore, but Jesus wanted them to apply what they knew and had already experienced and what He would teach them so they could start fishing for men. They were to obey His voice, launch out by faith, go into the unknown, and pull up an unbelievable catch.
Jesus has a greater purpose for our lives. He comes to call us out to something less ordinary, something more meaningful. He will call us to something that draws out those attributes in us, the things we’ve already done and experienced, and use those things for His honor, His work, and His plans. He will use what we already are for our future service to Him, even as He continues to mold and shape us. He uses the characteristics of what we used to be and applies them to what He is making us into. All we have to do is let Him take our lives and make them into what He wants them to be.
This was a moment of surrender for the disciples. Everything they used to be would come to be wrapped up in a new identity in Christ, what He would make them into, what He wanted them to be, what He wanted them do. To truly follow Jesus, we have to be willing to step away from what is familiar and comfortable, from that role that used to identify and define us, and step into the new things that He has for us. And in that process, God doesn’t erase those things that make us who we are, but He takes our strengths, our experiences, our personalities, and our talents and redirects them toward that greater purpose He has for our lives.