The Bible contains a lot of guidance for how to spend our time and energy: We’re to love and help others,1 share the good news of God’s love,2 and apply ourselves in our work,3 to name a few. But the Bible also teaches that sometimes it is best to stay put and let God work on our behalf.
“I’m going fishing,” Simon Peter told his fellow disciples.4
“We are going with you also,” they replied.
This was in the weeks following Jesus’ death. The disciples had seen Him twice since His resurrection,5 but it seems they were still at a loss as to what to do next. Some of them had been fishermen before Jesus had called them to follow Him,6 and perhaps going back to their former occupation seemed like the logical choice—plus it was something they could do.
But sometimes doing doesn’t get us very far.
It didn’t get Simon and his fishing partners very far that day. “They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.”
Many of us can relate. We keep ourselves busy, actively doing things, but not always getting very far or accomplishing much.
Picture the disciples the next morning, tired, discouraged, and hungry. They had worked all night and received nothing for their labors. To top things off, an apparent stranger calls from the shore: “Have you any food?” No, they didn’t have any! It took the stranger’s instruction to “cast the net on the right side of the boat” for any of them to begin to guess that the stranger might be Jesus.
They did as the Master told them, and this time they did land some fish—153, to be exact. However, when they arrived at the shore, they saw fish already roasting over an open fire, and fresh bread. They had not needed to fish all night after all. Their Lord was more than able to satisfy their needs.
The next time you feel like your efforts aren’t getting you anywhere, remember that God doesn’t expect or want us to always be doing something; sometimes He wants us to simply be. A few moments of quiet reflection before starting into a busy day can make all the difference to the outcome of that day. Be with God at the start, and He will be with you throughout.