Introduction: Do you separate your work from your religious practice?
Some people think they are separate spheres of life. When I was in
college, I briefly worked in a trailer factory during the summer. My
work crew harassed me about being a “college boy” and about my
religious beliefs. At the end of the summer, the leader of the crew
came to me and apologized for the harassment. He said he was a
“Sunday school teacher” and what he had been saying to me was
inconsistent with his role in church. The Bible teaches us that we
should integrate our work and our faith. Let’s plunge into our study
of the Bible to see how we can be “comrades in arms” even in the

  1. Peter’s Professionalism

    1. Read Luke 5:1-3. Relying on your experience with boats,
      would Jesus’ idea that He should teach from a boat raise
      any problems? (A boat is not a static thing unless you
      have a couple of anchors. I suspect Peter was also in the
      boat using an oar to keep it in relatively the same

    2. Read Luke 5:4-5. The assumption is that night is the time
      to catch fish. This is something that Peter, a trained
      professional, would know. In addition, it seems they had
      cleaned up for the day. What do you think Peter thought of
      Jesus’ suggestion that they let down nets during the day?
      (Jesus already had the “teach in a drifting boat” idea
      that showed His background was in carpentry ( Mark 6:3),
      not fishing. Now, Jesus suggests something else that seems

      1. Why does Peter do the impractical? (Out of respect
        for Jesus – and not His understanding of fishing.)

    3. Read Luke 5:6-7. What has happened? (A miracle. The nets
      are built for the range of normal catches. This is beyond

    4. Read Luke 5:8-9. What do you think is going through
      Peter’s mind that he should say this? (First, Peter must
      view this as a miracle. It is the result of the
      supernatural. Second, I think Peter has been thinking
      Jesus is incompetent in matters of boats and fishing. That
      makes Peter feel especially guilty.)

    5. Read Luke 5:10. Re-read Luke 5:8. What does Jesus’
      statement, “Don’t be afraid,” add to our understanding of
      what is going through Peter’s mind? (More than feeling
      guilty, Peter is fearful.)

      1. “Fear” seems an odd emotion towards someone who was
        just sitting in a boat teaching about God. How do you
        explain this? (The only thing that makes sense to me
        is that Peter concludes that Jesus is divine. Jesus
        is the Messiah.)

    6. What does this story teach us about our work and our


    7. Read Luke 5:11. Read Matthew 4:18-20. This is an earlier
      call from Jesus. How should we understand the statement
      “they left everything and followed Him?” Did they just
      abandon their business? (Read John 21:1-4. This suggests
      that even after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection Peter
      is still earning a living as a fisherman. Mark 1:19-20,
      Luke 5:8-10 and Matthew 4:21 suggest this is a family and
      friends business. The disciples can leave the business
      without abandoning their assets. Of course, after Jesus’
      last call the disciples seem to work full-time to advance
      the gospel.)

    8. Read Acts 18:2-4, Acts 20:33-34 and Acts 22:2-3. How did
      Paul support himself? (As a tentmaker.)

      1. What is the nature of Paul’s education? Is it like
        that of Peter? (It is not at all like the education
        of Peter. Paul is a trained theologian, yet he makes
        tents to support himself.)

    9. What does this discussion of Peter and Paul teach us about
      the nature of Peter’s response to Jesus’ call to follow?
      (The call to follow Jesus does not necessarily means that
      we give up our profession. The fact that Jesus did a
      miracle regarding Peter’s catch, shows that Jesus
      prospered him in his profession.)

      1. How can you be a “comrade in arms” with Jesus in your

  2. The Storm

    1. Read Matthew 8:23-25. Who should be expert in boat-handling? (The disciples who were fisherman, not the

      1. What does this teach us about being disciples and
        working in our profession? (That we need to rely on
        God. Our career and our discipleship are not two
        separate matters.)

    2. Read Matthew 8:26. How would you answer Jesus? (I’m afraid
      because I could drown!)

      1. Why does Jesus criticize their faith? (The central
        issue in our life is whether we trust God. Jesus
        tells them that as long as He is with them, they need
        not fear death.)

    3. Read Matthew 8:27. Should Peter have been amazed? (You
      might think that the miraculous catch of fish was not so
      miraculous. But, this is a clear miracle.)

      1. What does this teach us about our partnership with
        God? (We should expect miracles. Jesus controls the
        fish, the winds and the waves. What more does a
        fisherman need? If Jesus controls all aspects of
        your profession, what more do you need? We should put
        away fear.)

  3. Promotion

    1. Read Matthew 19:27. Peter says they have left everything
      to follow Jesus, although we are not completely sure what
      that means at this point in time. What does Peter want?

    2. Read Matthew 19:28. What will the disciples receive?

    3. Read Matthew 20:20-21, Mark 10:35-37 and Mark 9:33-35.
      This follows Jesus’ discussion of thrones and judging the
      tribes. What is the meaning of “greatest” here? (The
      greatest in Jesus’ kingdom.)

    4. Re-read Mark 9:33-35. What does this teach us about
      arguing over promotion at work? (Servant leadership. If
      you want to be promoted, you need to be willing to serve
      all. You need to be willing to do the difficult work.)

    5. Read Mark 9:36-37. This seems to be an odd switch. Why
      would an adult not welcome a child? (The adult has more
      important things to do. If you are looking for promotion
      and power, a child has no power to share.)

      1. What do you think Jesus’ point is regarding
        promotion? (If you want to be promoted, you need to
        be willing to do “servants work” and you need to
        “welcome” those who can do you no good.)

      2. Let me ask you a question that relates to this. Do
        you know the name of the person who cleans your
        office? How do you treat the people you supervise?
        How do you treat co-workers who cannot promote you?

    6. Read Matthew 20:17-19. If you were listening to this, how
      serious is this?

    7. Re-read Matthew 20:20-22. Do you think that these
      disciples (James and John)were paying attention to what
      Jesus just said?

      1. If not, why not? (I don’t think they were paying
        attention, and it is because they were focused on

        1. If they were not paying attention to the point
          about crucifixion, did they understand their
          agreement to drink “the cup I am going to

      2. What does this teach us about promotion? (They were
        focused on self, not on the welfare of Jesus. This is
        one part of the bigger picture Jesus is painting
        about leadership. If you want to lead, you need to be
        unselfish about what kind of work you are willing to
        do. If you want to lead, you need to be unselfish and
        welcome those who cannot help you. If you want to
        lead, you need to pay attention to the needs of
        others, and not be focused on your own needs.)

    8. Friend, are you willing to integrating your faith with
      your work? I don’t think this is mostly about telling
      people about Jesus when they don’t want to listen. I think
      it is about using Biblical principles when doing your job.
      These principles are relying on God, trusting God to work
      out problems, being willing to do the work others do not
      want to do, welcoming co-workers who cannot promote you,
      and paying attention to the needs of those around you
      rather than focusing on self. Will you determine to follow
      these promotion principles?

  4. Next week: The Great Controversy and the Early Church.