An account is given in Luke 5: One day multitudes of people gathered and pressed around Jesus to hear the Word of God. He stood by the Lake of Galilee and saw two boats on the water but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then he got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s and asked him to put it out a little from the land. He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
When he had stopped teaching he told Simon to launch into the deep and let down the nets for a catch. Simon answered, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless, at your word I will let down he nets.” When they had done that, they caught a large number of fish and the nets were breaking. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats until they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at Jesus’ feet saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” He and others were astonished at the catch of fish. And so also were his partners, James and John the sons of Zebedee. Jesus said to him, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”
One of the things that limit someone is failure in one aspect of life in the past. Life is not bad in totality. Life is multifaceted and therefore it would be foolish to allow your entire life to be limited by failure in one aspect. When many people fail, they become disoriented and start blaming others for it. There is need to not only talk about how to have faith in success; but also in failure when all hell breaks loose.
Failure comes with a sense loneliness and isolation. There is stigma associated with failure that one has to overcome. Elbert Hubbert says, “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” You fail when you give up and stop trying. Dick Ford says, “Failure is not the falling down but staying down.” Success in life brought about by your ability and capacity to handle failure. Phillips Brook says, “Not failure but aiming low is a crime.” Even when you have failed, you can aim high.
It is important to know that even the very gifted and experienced people can fail. “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, no bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).
We can learn a few lessons from this passage. First, while Jesus was by the lake, the multitudes were so great they pressed against each other and Jesus had to teach them from a boat. Whenever God is, there will always be people who are hungry for his word; and all they need to know is that he is there with them. No matter how many anti-Church and Christ campaigns are mounted.
Second, Jesus was loaned a boat to use. It is important to know that Jesus used what he was given to reach masses. The fishermen gave him their boat and he did an incredible miracle in the area they had failed in throughout the night. Surrender whatever aspect of your life that is not working out and he will fix it and bless you.
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Third, the fishermen were washing their nets. It was a down time for them. They were discouraged for failing to catch any fish. Turn your down time prep time! They were preparing for the next day’s fishing even after the failing the previous night. Do not waste your prep time idling around and having pity parties.
Fourth, they had failed to catch any fish the whole night no matter how much they tried. Their knowledge and experience in fishing did not work for them this time round. In whatever area of life that you have failed in, do not be limited by your abilities; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Fifth, when Jesus had done his business (teaching), he ordered Simon to do his business (fishing). Let God finish his business first with what you give him. Simon stayed on the shore and listened to the sermon until it was over and Jesus in turn attended to him by asking him to launch into the deep. Staying with God is not a waste of your time; in due course it will pay off in a great way.
Sixth, Simon had a humble confession to make. He said that they had toiled the whole night and caught nothing. It is always humbling to admit that whatever we are doing is not working. But we must be honest and admit that we need help from God.
Seventh, Jesus ordered Simon to cast his nets into the sea. You may have failed in the past but this time you are under orders from the one whom all creation submits to. It may not be the right season or time (like fishing in daytime) or that you are tired; just say ‘nevertheless I will do it’. Obey his orders and get ready with your partners and networks for a mighty breakthrough!