An IM missionary working in Poland – Janna Forseth – emailed this morning to comment on Sunday’s devotional thoughts. Her insights are worth mentioning:
Jesus told the disciples to go fishing at a time when they were tired and discouraged from working all night and yielding nothing. Returning to their boats to repeat the night’s activities probably didn’t appeal to them; perhaps they would rather have gone home to sleep. Nevertheless, they went. And they experienced an amazing harvest as a result.
I can relate – at times I’ve felt tired and discouraged from working hard in ministry with few visible results. That’s when I’d love to trade responsibilities for rest, but then I hear God’s voice say, “Go” or “Remember so-and-so? Phone her this morning. She needs a word of encouragement.” Obeying God’s voice even when we don’t feel like it is imperative if we want to help gather a spiritual harvest.
The disciples were experienced fishermen. Jesus’ instructions didn’t make sense to them, but they followed them anyway. Their focus wasn’t on following fishing “smarts.” It was on following Jesus. This is a great example for us today. When building God’s kingdom, we’d better be careful to follow Jesus’ commands more than programs or personalities.
The disciples were busy cleaning their nets when Jesus told them to go fishing. The nets may not have been ready, but the fish were! We may not always feel prepared for ministry, but Jesus says, “Go. There’s a harvest ready and waiting.” We might feel like arguing, “My nets aren’t ready – I can’t speak eloquently enough, I don’t have enough Bible knowledge, I don’t have enough training.” But the command remains – “Go. A harvest awaits.” Are we willing and obedient even when we feel somewhat unprepared?
Jesus sent the disciples to bring in the harvest after they’d spent time with Him. This is so important! Spending time in Jesus’ presence refreshes us when we’re weary and equips us for further ministry. Spending time with Jesus – the Lord of the harvest – ought to be at the top of our priority list.
Thanks for sharing your insights, Janna. Anyone else care to share theirs?