Where Will You Throw Your Net?

It’s amazing to me how the whole Bible opens up and begins to live, I mean really live, once I look at it through the lens of grace.

The Gospel of John tells us a story about the day the resurrected Jesus miraculously filled the disciples’ net with fish (John 21:1-14). It’s a wonderful example of what happens when we choose to live and work in grace.

You see, the disciples had been fishing all night, but they hadn’t caught anything. That was discouraging! And yet when morning came, there was Jesus, on the shore — and cooking fish! You can imagine the conversation. The disciples said, “Hey, you caught fish!” And Jesus said, “Yeah! Where’s your fish?” “Well,” the disciples said, “We’ve been working all night, but we didn’t catch any fish.” So Jesus said, “Well, why don’t you throw your net over there?” And they said, “Jesus, didn’t you hear us? We already labored all night, and we didn’t catch anything!”

There it is. They labored all night. “Jesus,” they said, “we worked all night, but we didn’t succeed. We worked, and worked, and worked.” And Jesus said, “Yes, I know, but hold on a second. When you live with me, it’s different. I am grace! I am truth! So when I tell you to throw your net somewhere, believe me, you will catch fish!”

This is an awesome message! “Work in my wisdom,” Jesus says. “That’s where you will find your success. You tried to do it all on your own. You worked and worked and worked to get your fish, right? I saw you! But guess what? You don’t have any fish! So why not just do what I say? I’ll give you the wisdom you need.”

So what did the disciples do? They said, “Okay, Jesus, tell us where to throw the net.” “Throw it right there,” He said, and they did. Boom! There was so much fish that their boat almost sank! There was so much fish that their net should have broken! But Jesus even took care of the net for them. That’s grace! That is grace!

Jesus tells us, “Apart from me, you can do nothing. Work all you want. Live by the law all you want. But I’m telling you, you will not find what you need. Instead, why not live with me? Why not listen to me? I am grace! I am truth! You know what? I will set you free! Work in grace, and you will have abundance.”

Every single day, Jesus teaches us in grace and truth. “Come, live with me,” He says. “When you are apart from me, you can do nothing. But when you are with me, all things are possible.”

Think about that! John’s story is a lesson in grace. Work with Jesus. Let Him save you.

Want Success? Work Wisely

Joseph succeeded in all he did. Why? Because the Lord was with him. When Joseph went to work, his bosses looked at him favorably. I also think his fellow workers appreciated him and enjoyed his company, because he encouraged them. And when Joseph did something, it produced good results.

All of this happened because he relied on God’s wisdom.

You can do the same! Right now, today, you can say to God, “Help me make a decision that will allow things to prosper in my place of work.” Allow God to talk to you and guide you. Allow Him to show you what you need to do for your employers and employees to succeed. Then you will prosper.

This is how I focus my efforts. When I was pitching, I listened to God. I wanted to be successful, but I needed His wisdom to do it. If I went to the field every day and worked really hard on being a side-armed pitcher, I would not have found success, because that’s not what I was asked to do. Or I could have said,“I’m going to learn to throw a knuckleball.” I could have worked really hard on it. But that’s not what God led me to do. Without God’s wisdom, I wouldn’t have found the success I wanted, no matter how hard I worked!

Of course there are very successful nonbelievers. A nonbeliever works really hard in the areas that he knows brings success. He goes to work and says, “I know what works, so that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to work really hard at it and do it well.” And he does, because he knows that success comes from hard work.

Joseph also worked hard. The difference is that Joseph worked wisely. He followed the wisdom that God gave him. Joseph didn’t do what he thought was right. He did what God said is right. God showed him what to do, and that’s where Joseph worked hard. That’s why he gained favor. That’s how he succeeded. That’s how I succeeded!

So think about this. What if that hardworking, successful nonbeliever finds Jesus? Then he will begin asking God for wisdom. He still does his work. He still works hard. But now, he does the Lord’s work too. He helps bring the Kingdom.

When he does that, he discovers a joy that he couldn’t have known in any other way. It’s the joy that cannot be matched, because it comes from God.

Now that is success!

See you Monday.

What Is Success?

If you think success is having tons of money, you’re going to find yourself in a very, very sad place. Success is not about having millions of dollars. I know all kinds of people from all walks of life that have plenty of joy, and not one of them has even close to a million dollars. Why are they so joyful? It’s because they don’t find their joy in money.

Joseph was successful because the Lord was with him. When he went to work, his bosses looked at him favorably. I think his fellow workers probably appreciated him and enjoyed his company. He didn’t upset them. He said things that encouraged them. And when he did something at work, it produced good results.

All of this happened because Joseph relied on the wisdom of God. Joseph didn’t do what he thought was right. He did what God said is right. Joseph asked God for wisdom.

You can be just as successful as Joseph! You can say to God, “Help me make a decision. Help me to make a decision that will allow things to prosper in my place of work.” Then your work will prosper, because you allowed God to talk to you and guide you in it. You allowed Him to show you what you need to do to help your employers succeed.

That’s how Joseph gained favor in the eyes of his bosses. God showed him what to do, and he worked hard at it. So he succeeded!

This is how I focus my efforts. If I went to the field every day and work really hard on being a side-armed pitcher, I would not find success, because that’s not what I’ve been asked to do. Or I could say, “I’m going to learn to throw a knuckleball,” and then I could work really hard on that. But if that’s not the wisdom that God is giving me, I’m not going to be very good. It wouldn’t matter how hard I worked at it!

It’s not just about working hard. It’s about working wisely. It’s about using the wisdom that God has given you.

I know what you’re saying right about now. What about all the nonbelievers that have tons of success? Of course a nonbeliever can still succeed in his work! He probably works really hard in certain areas that he knows brings success. He goes to work and says, “I know what works so that’s what I’m going to do, and I’m going to work really hard at it and do it well.” And he does.

But now think about this. What if he finds Jesus? What if he then uses the wisdom that God gives him? Not only does he use his own wisdom, he also uses God’s wisdom. And then what happens? Now he not only does his own work, but he does the Lord’s work too. He finds a joy he couldn’t have known in any other way. It’s a joy that you cannot match, and that is success!

See you Monday.

What Is Success?

If you think success is having tons of money, you’re going to find yourself in a very, very sad place. Success is not about having millions of dollars. I know all kinds of people from all walks of life that have plenty of joy, and not one of them has even close to a million dollars. Why are they so joyful? It’s because they don’t find their joy in money.

Joseph was successful because the Lord was with him. When he went to work, his bosses looked at him favorably. I think his fellow workers probably appreciated him and enjoyed his company. He didn’t upset them. He said things that encouraged them. And when he did something at work, it produced good results. Continue reading

Imagine the Success of Love

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”

He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Matthew 14:16-20

In the early years of my baseball career, I was not fulfilled. I was not fulfilled as long as I was just saying, “I’m a Christian,” and then going and playing baseball. I didn’t feel good. I didn’t understand my purpose for being here on this earth. I didn’t understand, because my purpose is not to be a baseball player. Continue reading