Gain is not always the reward of labour. Labour without is toil without the oil of grace. Not how long you have toiled determines how much you will gain.
After a fruitless night of meticulous labour, a despondent professional fisherman confessed to Jesus, “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing” (Luke 5:5). From the point he met Jesus was when that fisherman's story took a better turn.
When Peter, the fisherman, met Jesus with his story of frustration, the Master told him merely to “let down” his net. Who ever catches fishes so simplistically? Where do fishes ever get caught in a net simply “let down”? It did not matter. The voice that had spoken was that of the Master, who considered that the man had laboured enough already and should enter then into his rest; yet God was not going to use the usual tedious fisherman's method to give that man his miracle. It was going to be Peter's simplest effort, yet it was going to give him his biggest catch ever. His response to Jesus was, “nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net” (v.5).
This year, may God look kindly upon all your fruitless dark nights of hard labour and give you a simple recipe for remarkable breakthrough. Amen. It will not be the familiar tedious 'professional' fisherman way, yet may you be believing enough to say like Peter, “nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.”
And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake (v.6).
When Peter obeyed the Master, favour overtook labour so much that in one catch he had more fish than in all his night of tedious labour.
Does this mean that we should not labour? No. Fishes will never be caught in a net that is not there. Firstly, there was a net to “let down”; secondly, that had to be done in the place where fishes are found. Living fishes are found in water, not on palm trees. The most anointed hook set on a tree top may, at the most, catch a bird, not a living fish.
Labour has dignity, but labour alone does not bring dignity. It is when favour meets labour that abundance is harvested, otherwise life becomes a night of vexatious toilings. It is hard labour to see no fruit for all your nights of toil. Abundance does not necessarily answer to the multitude of labour; it answers to labour in touch with favour.
Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets" (Luke 5:5, NIV).
Peter said to Jesus, “Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net” (v.5). What is the word that He has spoken to you this year, to guide your net to where the fishes are waiting to be found? Favour will find labour, but God's favour never goes where His word has not sent it.
“...At thy word I will.” What is the word He has spoken to you? Where is the word that drives you? The fishes will never be found where His word has not instructed you. Favour rewards labour, not laziness; yet favour rewards the labour founded on His word.
Years later, the Master was to repeat the same miracle to the same man after another fruitless night of hard labour, strangely, with very experienced half a dozen colleagues. The Bible records: “that night they caught nothing” (John 21:3), but that was before they had met the Master again (John 21:1- 11). You may have had the miracle before and wasted it; He can still repeat it again. Another year for another encounter.
Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain (1 Kings 18:41).
From The Preacher's diary.