SCRIPTURE: Luke 5:4-5 (CEB) – larger reading Luke 5:1-11
When he finished speaking to the crowds, he said to Simon, "Row out farther, into the deep water, and drop your nets for a catch." Simon replied, "Master, we've worked hard all night and caught nothing. But because you say so, I'll drop the nets."
A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man He had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.
This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.
Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, the Adversary decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s weary mind. "You have been pushing against that rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it."
This gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man. "Why kill myself over this?" he thought. "I’ll just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that will be good enough."
And that is what he planned to do until one day he decided to make it a matter of prayer and take his troubled thoughts to the Lord. "Lord" he said, "I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked.
Yet, after all this time, I have not even budged that rock by half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"
The Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so? Look at yourself."
"Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend will now move the rock."
Who among us hasn’t felt like they have labored in vain… to move the “rocks” in our lives? As the saying goes: “That which doesn’t destroy us makes us stronger.”
Sometimes we rebel. Sometimes we run away. Sometimes we don’t like to hear what is said. Sometimes we get hurt in the process. But in the process we are being spiritually and emotionally stronger.
Moving rocks… or fishing all night and not catching anything… seems like defeat. But let each of us hear the word of God… cast our nets on the other side… look in the “mirror” and see how strong we’ve become. We haven’t labored in vain. We have grown! Yea, God!
Eternal Lord, give us a mirror so that we can see how far we have grown!