The disciples had been through a horrendous week. They had seen their Master betrayed and nailed to a Roman cross. Even though Jesus had tried to tell them numerous times that He must die and rise again, they were left wondering what had happened. They had given up their lives and their occupations to follow Christ and be “fishers of men.” Now all seemed to be falling apart.
Even after Jesus had risen and appeared to these followers they were not sure of what the next step for them was. So one day Peter announced that he was going back out into the lake to fish. He and some of the others did just that. But even this was a disappointment. They cast their nets all night, but didn’t have any luck. The fish were not biting.
Sometimes service to God feels like that. You work so hard doing what you believe He has called you to do, yet there just seems to be little or no fruit. You wonder what has gone wrong. Discouragement sets in and the temptation to give up and go back to the old ways creep in.
Luke 9 records Jesus’ challenge of men who thought they wanted to be His disciples. They seemed eager to follow Him wherever He went, but they had previous commitments they wanted to settle first. It was clear to Jesus that these men were not truly committed to the hardship and perseverance it took to be His follower.
He told them, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Once we commit to serving Christ we must never look back. Discouragement will come, but that doesn’t mean God is not in control.
When Jesus arrived at the lake where the disciples were trying to fish, He yelled to them. “Cast your nets on the other side of your boat.” When they did they were unable to haul the net in because of the large catch.
After speaking with the risen Christ, the disciples left their fishing nets for good and spent the rest of their days with their hands to the plow for their Savior. There were many hard times, and I’m sure some discouragement, but they never looked back.
Discouragement is a tool of the devil! What are you going to do with it? If you want to be a follower and servant in the kingdom of God, don’t let discouragement cause you to leave your calling. God is always in control. He will give you the strength to do what He has called you to do. Keep plowing and never, ever look back.