“Now when he had stopped speaking, he said to Simon, launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch. But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.” And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.”— Luke 5:4-6
We learn necessity of human effort from this example. The enormous catch was miraculous; however it wasn’t just the fisherman, the boat, or the fishing gear that were required. In additional to all those elements, Jesus had to work.
It works similarly in the saving of souls. God works in the heart, and allows us to work in the physical. Without God the sinner is not called, however He is pleased with what seems foolishness to us, the preaching to save those that may believe. God could easily be glorified without us, but instead increases his glory and pleasure by magnifying Himself through our works.
We can see from the above passage that works themselves don’t accomplish anything. As Peter said “Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing.” They were highly skilled fishermen, with all of the necessary gear. Were they just not putting in the effort? No, they had fished all night! Maybe there weren’t any fish. No, after they obeyed Jesus, they filled their nets beyond breaking, nearly sinking more than one boat. There were plenty of fish.
Why then, after working all night, had they been unsuccessful? Because, as they discovered, there is no power in the works of themselves without the presence and will of God. “Without him we can do nothing.” But “through Christ we can do all things.” Christ’s presence means success.
Jesus sat in Peter’s boat, and by His will drew the fish to the net. When Jesus is lifted up in his Church (all true believers), His presence is in the Church’s power—the shout of the King is in their midst. “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.”
Let’s go out in the work of soul fishing, looking up in faith, and around us love for the lost. Let’s work all day and all night, knowing we don’t labor in vain. God will fill it with fish.