The Lord has used this verse many times to encourage my heart when I've been faced with disappointing results from my hard work. I can really relate to poor Peter here when, after fishing all night and catching nothing, the Lord asks him to let down his net one more time. It's as if Peter is saying, "Lord, I've worked hard and long, but I have nothing to show for it!" The only thing that motivates Peter to drop that net again is the Lord's command. As a result of his obedience, Peter is rewarded with a catch of fish that begins to break his nets and sink two boats. The disciple could have let his weariness and discouragement rob him of a miracle, but fortunately, he put his feelings aside and obeyed the Lord.
I think it's sad how our society has become so result-oriented. Too often, we're initially excited about a new assignment that the Lord gives us, but as soon as we realize we aren't getting the results we expected, we quit and give up. And it IS tempting to give up when we're not getting the results we want. I experienced this for myself years ago, when my son started a Bible club in his public high school. After the initial excitement began to wear off, my son and I were tempted to "throw in the towel". We were working long and hard, and instead of the club growing in number, it was diminishing. It seemed like resistance was coming against us from all directions - including from some of the school authorities, teachers, and students. We wrestled with that quitter's attitude that says, "Who needs this?!" Then the Lord spoke to our hearts. He told us not to worry about the results or the numbers. He told us to just be there for the kids that showed up, even if it was just a handful. And He told us to pray. If only two people came, they could pray and expect Jesus to be in their midst, just like He promised. (Matthew 18:19-20)
We made the decision that we were in it for the long haul. We stuck it out and didn't let our discouragement talk us out of doing God's will. It paid off big time. The club grew, and over a period of five years, it touched and changed the lives of hundreds of kids. The fact is that when God gives us a job to do, even if it's just to pray or witness to someone, He doesn't want us focusing on the results. Yes, there will be times when it seems like we have nothing to show for our hard work. But if we obey God and keep going, the day will come when we'll be rewarded with a net-breaking, boat-sinking catch of our own. My prayer for you today is "that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul - not the grim strength of gritting your teeth, but the glory-strength God gives"! (Colossians 1:11 MSG)
Prayer: Lord, when You give me a job to do, help me not to focus on the results. Help me, instead, to focus on You and Your plans and purposes. When it seems like I have nothing to show for my work, send me the encouragement I need to keep going. As I am faithful, use me to touch and change more and more lives. Thank You for the harvest of blessings, rewards, and opportunities I will reap!
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