Just in case you ever feel you aren’t ‘capable’, ‘equipped’, or ‘good enough’ to serve or lead in your local church… just read Luke 5. Jesus destroys any kind of platform revolving around the idea of religious performance. The only qualification you need is the call of Christ. If you are called to Jesus, then you are called to minister to others. If you know Jesus, then you know enough to begin helping others.
In Luke 5, we see Jesus approach a group of blue-collar, average-Joe fishermen. And apparently they weren’t the best fishermen either- when Jesus asks them to cast their nets they respond in doubt due to their lack of success. However, moments after following Jesus’ request they haul in a miracle catch of fish that nearly sinks their boat!
Peter realizes very quickly that this man is not just a ‘normal’ man. He also realizes how inadequate he is in comparison to Jesus.
Peter falls to his knees and says, “Oh, Lord, please leave me-I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” (Luke 5:8 NLT)
Right here, conventional wisdom would expect that Jesus and Peter would have a lengthy conversation. Conventional wisdom would expect that Jesus would spend a few hours or a maybe even a few days talking to Peter about his performance and the extensive training that he will need before he can begin ministering alongside Jesus. I mean Peter isn’t exactly off base for saying what he says. Remember, Peter is just a dirty-working-class guy that probably isn’t very qualified for ministering to others. Most fishermen I know (all of which I know from viewing Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel) are not exactly personable or friendly. And since he is human he probably isn’t lying about how much he sins. Frankly, it looks like Peter has a lot of work to do, but with the Son of God as the trainer, surely Peter will one day be ‘capable’ and ‘equipped’ to help others meet Jesus.
None of that happens. Instead, Jesus overlooks and ignores Peter’s excuses and commands him to take action!
Jesus replied to Peter, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” (Luke 5:10 NLT)
He tells him to get up, to start moving.
He tells him to stop focusing on his own performance and start focusing on Jesus.
This doesn’t make sense if your focus is on Peter. Peter couldn’t even catch FISH, how could anyone expect him to catch PEOPLE!?
The thing is, Jesus isn’t looking for the most qualified or those with the best performance in life.
In fact, 1 Cor. 1:27 says “God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.”
What does this mean for you? It means if you use the following excuses (like I did for most of my life)
- My past disqualifies me
- My current struggles disqualify me
- My lack of people-skills disqualify me
Then STOP… stop excusing yourself and start following Jesus.
This is exactly the solution that Jesus offers to Peter and the rest of the disciples who are not qualified by the world’s standards.
In Luke 5:11 it says, “And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.”
‘As soon as they landed’ sounds like a pretty swift transition to me. It doesn’t sound like a 12 step program or a 50-hour Bible course was used to train these guys to minister.
I mean, all these guys really had when they got back to dry land was their story of what Jesus had done in their life. Yet, so much about them had changed that they were now leaving EVERYTHING they knew and were following Jesus.
That’s exactly how Jesus works.
He doesn’t work by modifying your skill set; He works by modifying your heart.
He gives you a new identity. And when you know who you are, you know how to act.
I think this is what happened to Peter. I think he became so preoccupied with his desire to know Jesus that he forgot about his own inadequacies and fear.
I think Peter became so captivated by Jesus that knowing Jesus became his identity.
I think that is what we need to do.
Don’t waste time like I did climbing a fictional Christian performance ladder trying to level up enough to be ‘qualified to serve’.