Isn’t it interesting that in this exchange between Jesus and Peter, Jesus uses shepherding language to a fisherman.
In Matt. 4:19, Jesus gives Peter the call to “fish for people.” Here in John 21, we see Jesus change, or better yet expand, Peter’s call to include shepherding. This is a challenge in today’s church, isn’t it? Some feel called to fish (evangelize), and others to shepherd (discipleship), yet they are not meant to be mutually exclusive.
Here in John 21, we see Jesus change, or better yet expand, Peter’s call to include shepherding. This is a challenge in today’s church, isn’t it? Some feel called to fish (evangelize), and others to shepherd (discipleship), yet they are not meant to be mutually exclusive.
If we look at the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), our calling as a church and as children of God is to do both. “Go and make disciples of all nations” in vs. 19 is a call to fish and to shepherd. Some may be more gifted to do one or the other, but both are called for and both are necessary. As challenging as this is, we need to find ways to do both (and we don’t want to miss the phrase at the end “to all nations”).
Jesus also made sure that Peter’s focus was on Him. When Peter wanted to know about John’s journey, Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come… what is that to you? As for you, follow me (John 21:22).” We need to be careful not to look to someone else’s call in Christ.
This especially holds true for pastors and leaders. In the church world, it is looked at as “buildings, budgets, and bodies.” How big is your church building (or how new), what is your budget, and how many people are in your church? We must not get caught up in this! We want to see His kingdom expand, but if we end up “growing fruit on other people’s trees” — Pastor Robert Gelinas (they go to other Bible believing churches), it shouldn’t matter. It should be about building His kingdom, not ours!
If we become the people He has called us to be (“as for you, follow me”), we should be content. Our desire shouldn’t be to have the biggest building, or budget, or the most people, but to follow Jesus anywhere He calls us to go. Let us rejoice in our calling, and whatever He chooses to do with that, may we be content in the results, knowing that we have been faithful to Him!