What gives us better success in things we do?
We all like to achieve peak performance at work and make good progress. We delight to see tasks given us done well. But the experience of good harvest and poor harvest at work is a common thing.
However, managers always would like to see staff pursue good productivity and move away from poor productivity at work. In real life, Ananse stories don’t give you success.
In the gospel narratives of the New Testament Bible, we read that when people meet Jesus, they experience tremendous change in every department of their lives. The story of Simon and his partners, James and John, in Luke chapter 5:1-11, is one of the classic examples of this truth.
First, Jesus requests Simon Peter’s help to enable Him to provide pure teaching of God’s word to a huge mass of people: “One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God.
He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats,
Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So, he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.” (Luke 5:1-3, NLT)
Jesus asks Simon Peter “provide me a boat as a pulpit from which to preach.” In fact, Simon Peter have had a poor night of harvest at fishing the previous night and probably was not in the best of moods when Jesus made the request. But Simon Peter provided what Jesus requested. Simon Peter was soon to realise in very practical terms that you can’t beat God in giving!!
Second, the Lord Jesus provides divine direction or instruction to help Simon Peter in his fishing business. When Jesus had finished preaching and teaching the word of God, He said to Simon Peter: “Now go out to where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish” (Luke 5:4, NLT).
Now wait a minute, how come Jesus who was a carpenter would instruct Simon Peter the experienced fisherman how to do fishing well? And so Simon Peter hesitated. He responded: “Master, 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). What strikes us is Peter’s feedback: “but because you say so, I will let down the nets.” In fact, Simon Peter had just finished listening to Jesus preach and teach God’s word. Jesus’ teaching might have deeply impacted him, and hence this kind of response. This reminds us of the following two Bible texts among similar others:
“Do whatever He (Jesus) tells you” (John 2:5, NLT)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT)
Perhaps these are Bible texts we should make our life “principle and practice”, if we would experience good success in anything we want to become, or any responsibility, task or any vision and mission we want to accomplish!
Simon Peter submits to what Jesus tells him and carries out Christ’s instructions and guidance. And as a result Simon Peter gets an extraordinary bumper harvest of fish: “And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!” (Luke 5:6, NLT)
imon Peter’s obedience to the Lord Jesus yields good success, extraordinary harvest.
But that is not all: “When Simon Peter realised what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” (Luke 5:8, NLT)
The Biblical truth is this, anyone to whom Jesus reveals Himself or God reveals Himself- His awesome glory and holiness the person or group of persons see their own unworthiness and sinfulness in the light of his glory and holiness. (see Isaiah 6:1-11; John 4:26,39) and turn to Him for cleansing and help!
Jesus provided Simon Peter a better and more enduring benefit to him for providing Him his boat for a “pulpit” and obeying His guidance and instructions. Jesus reveals Himself to Peter and His partners, James, and John. They have a personal encounter with Jesus and are transformed.
Thirdly, Jesus invites Simon Peter and his partners to join Him in His mission for God’s Kingdom: “His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.” (Luke 5:10-11. NLT). It was an irresistible invitation and supreme privilege to co-work with the Lord Jesus.
Their response was immediate and a total new allegiance to follow Jesus and be fully His disciples!
It is Jim Elliot who says: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Simon Peter responded wisely. He left what he couldn’t keep. And Simon Peter would become the Rock- “And on this Rock I will build my Church”, says Jesus.
Simon Peter becomes the vessel God uses to give birth to the Church on the day of Pentecost. We can’t beat God in giving our time, our talent, our treasures, indeed even our life in serving Christ and His Kingdom. The reward He gives is eternal legacy. It transcends life on this Earth.
Perhaps like Simon Peter, the Lord Jesus is ready to resolve the frustration, or little success you are experiencing right now; and provide you the needs and desires of your heart- business success, wife, child, husband, and good health. But indeed, Jesus has something of more enduring value and eternal glory to give you-: “New life in Christ”.
Are you a believer, and on a very intentional spiritual formation journey of true discipleship, so as “to grow in every way more and more like Christ?” In what part or way have you joined Jesus in His Kingdom mission? and what is Jesus freshly calling you to, today?
Jesus gives us total fulfilment (John 10:10b)
The author is a consultant in authentic Christian Spirituality and Discipleship and former CEO of Scripture Union.