In a lot of projects, it’s reasonably simple to determine how far along they are progressing, and how much work is left to be done. If a road must be built from here to the next town, we can see how much of the road is ready, and how much remains to be completed. When it’s my turn to vacuum, I know how many carpets are in the house (or at least the first floor, if I’m just cleaning up for company), and how many remain to be cleaned.
Other tasks, though, aren’t as clear. In cooking, sometimes you just don’t know how long it will take for the gravy to thicken up. So, you heat and stir, heat and stir, wondering if you added enough flour to actually make gravy (versus being stuck with a skillet of broth). Looking for a lost item is the same way: even if we are pretty sure that it is in a particular room or location, after our search is unfruitful for a while, we may be tempted to second-guess ourselves, or give up. (How many times has someone else found what we were looking for, in the same place that we were looking?)
In Luke 5:1-11, we read about a miracle of Jesus, as well as some disciples choosing to follow Him. It’s easy to focus on the miracle, though, and potentially miss this verse:
“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”
Luke 5:5 NLT
Yes, obedience soon resulted in a miraculously good catch of fish, here. But remember that Simon didn’t make this statement with a boat full of fish. He and his co-workers had been working through the night. (Maybe they were just lying on the shore, trying to get some rest after a fruitless night, when Jesus asked to use the boat? After all, Simon probably wasn’t eager to use it again right away.) Still, probably tired and frustrated, Simon obeys this rabbi named Jesus.
Are you ever in this situation? Maybe you have been working at a job all day and get called to help someone out after work, but after you and a friend work at the problem for a while (like moving something heavy, or trying to fix a vehicle), you can’t resolve it by the time night falls. Perhaps you have been serving in a ministry for years, and just don’t see the spiritual results that you hoped for. You are tired, your efforts seem like they aren’t working, and yet the Holy Spirit prompts you to take one more step.
What do you do? I admit that I often cave to my weariness and do what I want, rather than what God asks me to do. Even if we still do what God tells us in these cases, there’s no guarantee that the next thing He calls us to do will be miraculous, nor that we will see the results of His greater plan immediately.
Still, God’s instructions (through His Word), and His leading (through the Holy Spirit) are the right things to do, no matter how we feel. We can still trust God. For every time that our efforts seem fruitless, He has shown us how His plan bears fruit. For every time that we are weary, He has given us the strength to follow His guidance. For every time that we don’t see the value in doing the right thing, He has shown us miracles (like those in Luke 5) and opportunities that we did not expect.
I can’t guarantee that you will catch a lot of fish today, but I can tell you that God’s way is better. Keep an eye out, and be willing to say “yes” to Jesus Christ. And, when you are worn out, but are still called to one more step, keep this verse handy as a reminder:
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.
Galatians 6:9-10 NLT
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.