We've Worked Hard All Night
"When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”
“Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing. But if you say so, I’ll let down the nets.”
When they did this, they caught a great number of fish, and their nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them; they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink." -- Luke 5:4-7 (CSB)
This little exchange really caught my attention this week and I think it speaks to the pastor's or missionary's ache when we labor for years unsure of success and all we can give is our obedience.
Here Simon and the boys had been out all night fishing to no avail. They were not rookies. They knew their vocation. But the fish were avoiding the nets. So in the morning they came ashore, cleaned the nets, and set them to dry. As they finish the work, or so they think, Jesus hops on Simon's boat to use it as a platform for his preaching.
When he is done teaching, Jesus tells Simon to take the boat out to the deep again for a catch. The harvest would come in. And oh man did it. The nets are breaking and the boats are sinking.
I know for some of us the work the Lord has called us to do can feel like toiling through the night without any success. The hours pile up. The years add. The labor goes on. And obedience to Jesus' call on our lives can sometimes seem unwise - after all a carpenter is telling the fishermen how to catch fish.
All we can muster most days is "if you say so, Jesus." We will keep going. We will keep praying. We will keep welcoming. We will keep teaching. We will keep sending. We will keep weeping. We will keep listening. We will keep letting down the nets.
Maybe the fish will come. Maybe this is a reminder of a prophetic promise for you that the labor will be see a harvest. But even if the nets don't burst, Jesus is pleased in you brother and sister. You have followed him. You have pointed others to him. He is the Lord of the harvest.
Today, be encouraged. It won't always be night. Your nets probably are not as empty as you think. Either way, Jesus is with you and rejoices in you. Keep going.