“Master we have toiled all night and have caught nothing. But at your word I will let down the nets” Luke 5.5
It appears to me from our compass, the Bible, and from fifty years of observation, that God chooses different people to serve Him indifferent ways. There is not one formula for serving God. But there is ONE MASTER for serving God. He alone knows what is best for each one of HIS servants!
Some people are called to toil all night. Others are called to gather one draught of fish at what seems the most unusual time. Some labour all day to receive a penny, others labour for just one hour and receive a penny.
John the Baptist served well for about eighteen months while the Apostle John served for about sixty years. Dorcas was diligent in serving the Lord with her hands for many years. Mary is recorded briefly as anointing the Lord from heaven. Paul planted and Apollos watered, but it was God who gave the increase. Many of us have yearned to know the ‘plan of God for our lives’. Some like the Apostle Paul, have a revelation right at the beginning – ‘that he must suffer for the Name of the Lord Jesus’. For Peter, his commissioning service(John21) included his stewardship to feed God’s sheep and also how he would die. Was a similar plan given to John? Not that we know of. In fact Peter sought to draw out from the Lord a proposed plan for John, but was rebuked with most significant words – “what is that to you? You follow me”!
To some a distinctive mission in life is clear but to the many it is a day by day devotion, following the Shepherd where ever He leads. Previously we noticed Zechariah in Like 1. He for so many years faithfully committed to the cause of God, not knowing that he would become the father of a prophet.
The letter to the Hebrews in chapter twelve, it is filled with people of significant faith. Then it says “others................................” Obviously God calls some to prominence, but others who by faith endure, and achieve by faith, will be rewarded in the day of Christ’s glory.
So what am I drawing from all this?
As to the eternal value of what we do “ we work as a team with the same purpose, yet they will be rewarded individually according to their own hard work.” (1 Corinthians 3.8NLT)
As to now, there is just one Master, one Lord in heaven and there is no partiality with HIM. His calling and enabling by the Holy Spirit is as unique as we are different. His timing is wise. The stewardship given will be called to account by the heavenly account keeper. The outcomes may well be different to our human expectations or aspirations.
It is loyal devotedness to HIM that will yield contentment and fruitfulness in this life, and His divine recognition in the next life.
Perhaps I have seem to have wandered from my text? Sometimes the Lord lets us labour all the night- that is not wrong and the Lord does not rebuke that. The real lesson is learned by Peter – It is not so much the timing or the labour, it is the LORD that makes the difference. Peter considers himself unworthy of the Lord’s service or the Lord’s presence. Yet this is just the same grace of the Lord of the harvest – He chooses to use the unworthy in HIS way, in HIS time , for HIS glory.
So then it is important to work hard for the Lord (as said Paul), but it is more important to work as a partner with the Lord (2 Corinthians 6.1 ), in submission to HIS directives and by HIS enabling grace. Whether we be a public success or not is insignificant. Whether we walk with the Lord, being available as clean vessels for the Master’s use, is significant. It was Mary, the mother of Jesus, who in her song, so beautifully sang, that God in His wonderful way “exalts the lowly” Luke 1.52.
My prayer for all who read these articles, all over the world , is that you may know the Lord Jesus Christ by faith, that Christ might dwell in your hearts by faith, and that as branches in the vine you might bear much fruit to the glory of the living Lord Jesus.