The news media is full of politics these days and news about the candidates for the up-coming election. Each political candidate wants to be successful and win the election for the particular office he or she seeks.
What will make the difference between success and failure for each of them? I read an interesting list of the events of one man’s life:
One year he failed in business.
The next year he was defeated for the legislature.
The next year he again failed in business.
The next year he was elected to the legislature.
The next year his sweetheart died.
The next year he had a nervous breakdown.
Two years later he was defeated for speaker.
Two years later he was defeated for elector.
Three years later he was defeated for Congress.
Three years later he was elected to Congress.
Two years later he was defeated for Congress.
Seven years later he was defeated for the Senate.
The next year he was defeated for Vice-President.
Two years later he was defeated for the Senate.
Was he a successful man?
There was one more entry about him:
In 1860, he was elected President.
The man described is Abraham Lincoln, one of our most successful Presidents, winning the Civil War, keeping the Union intact, and abolishing slavery.
As I was reading in Luke 5:1-11, recently, the story about Jesus’ disciples catching the great catch of fish, I realized that, for His disciples, Jesus was the difference between failure and success. And He is the difference between failure and success for US, in the way we live each day! Consider the difference that Jesus made for them:
1st, we see the DISCIPLES WITHOUT JESUS.
They had invested much time and effort in their fishing. They were fishermen who fished for a living and knew their business. They knew where and when the best fishing was. And though they had put all their knowledge and experience of fishing into it, they “had fished all night and caught nothing!” (v.5a-b) They had come back frustrated and were cleaning their nets, not of fish, but of seaweed and whatever else was caught in them (v.2). Have YOU ever totally invested yourself in something and not had it turn out right?... Do you ever feel like your day has been totally wasted?... I do! But I realized that the reason they ended up with nothing to show for all their efforts is that they had gone without Jesus!
2nd, we see the DISCIPLES WITH JESUS.
1st, when they had come to the end of themselves, they let Jesus into their boat when He asked them (v.1-3). We need to let Jesus into the “boat” of our life at some point. He wants to “sail” with us through every day of our lives!
Then, they took time to listen to Him (v.1-4). Do WE take time to listen to Jesus first in the morning before starting out to live our day?...
Then, they trusted in Jesus’ Word and acted on it (v.5). They did this even though it seemed like a foolish thing to do. Is Jesus asking YOU to step out in faith and do something that seems IMPOSSIBLE?
Jesus went with them in the boat (v.8)! Do we take Jesus with us into OUR day?...
The result was that they received an ABUNDANT return for their labors! (v.6-7) Both boats were so full of fish, they were in danger of sinking! This was so much more than they could have hoped for!
The result in them was that they realized their unworthiness of Jesus (v.8-9). We can’t take pride in what Jesus does for us or through us, because it is all HIS GRACE! We deserve nothing from Him and certainly not all that He gives us if we let Him.
And Jesus gave them a greater vision for their lives than catching smelly fish that will rot in a few days (v.10)! The vision was for catching ETERNAL SOULS for God’s kingdom! Jesus will give US a greater vision for OUR lives than we can imagine!
Jesus can make this kind of difference in a person’s day! I believe that He can make this kind of difference in OUR days! All we have to do, is what the disciples did: invite Him in, listen to Him, trust and obey Him, take Him with us in our activities, receive what He wants to give us, appreciate His grace, and catch the greater vision HE has for our lives!
By Craig Wentzel, World Missions Committee Member