BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“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’” (Luke 5:5 NKJV).
In Luke 5:1-11, Peter experienced a divine turnaround acting on the words of Jesus. After a fruitless toil all night, Peter partnered with Jesus, when he released his boat for Him to use to preach to people, which led to a turnaround for him.
That day, two boats were standing by the Lake of Gennesaret and the fishermen who had gone from them were washing their nets when Jesus got there. Neither Peter’s boat nor the second boat that belonged to his partners caught any fish. But mercy chose the boat of Peter that day. God says He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion (Romans 9:15). By the mercy of God, you will experience a divine visitation.
The Greek word translated toiled in Luke 5:5 is “kopiao”, which means to feel fatigue; by implication to work hard – (bestow) labour, toil, be wearied. This tells us that it takes more than toiling – wearisome labour, sweating – to prosper in life. Peter toiled but had nothing to show for it.
Peter was an experienced fisherman but it takes more than experience to make it in life. Peter’s experience didn’t help him at the time. Some situations of life defy experience; they result in fruitless toil that only causes weariness. They drain people’s strength and other resources. To avoid this, you need the power of God, you need a Word from Him, you need the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and you need the grace of God. “Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is useless. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones” (Psalm 127:1-2 NLT).
Jesus told Peter to launch out into the deep for a catch. That didn’t make sense to Peter because he had tried everything all night when it was the best time for fishing but without success. Nevertheless, Peter acted on the words of Jesus, and this ‘trial’, one more time, resulted in a catch that began to tear his net and he shouted for the help of his partners. That was a good attitude on his part. He wasn’t selfish, which would have resulted in the boat sinking, the net torn, and the fish escaping into the lake again.
Some people experience wastages and losses in life because they’re selfish. They want to do it alone and enjoy the profit or benefits, alone. In the process, they lose all. But when Peter shouted for help from his partners in the other boat, which Jesus didn’t use, they brought their boat, and both boats were filled with fish. It was a win-win situation for Peter and his partners. Their two boats were so filled with fish that they were on the verge of sinking. Peter was so blessed that day that he became a blessing to his fellow toiling partners. They all went home fulfilled.
What seed will you sow?
Notice that Peter’s turnaround began when he released his boat to Jesus to sit in and teach the multitude. Then he obeyed Jesus’ instruction to launch out into the deep. What seed will you sow to experience your turnaround? – Your time, your material possession, your money, etc.?
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 says, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” (NKJV).
Also, Galatians 6:9 says we should not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Ecclesiastes 11:4 says he who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. In other words, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 NLT).
God does not want you to toil fruitlessly. He wants you to labour, work hard, and have results. Proverbs 12:24 says, “Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave” (NLT). The New King James Version puts it this way: “The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor.” But it’s not everyone who works hard or is diligent that achieves something commensurate, as it happened to Peter before Jesus turned his failure into success. God wants you to make progress in life and not at the expense of your life, health, and family, which is what toiling sometimes does if at all someone achieves anything substantial.
Toiling in the boat
In Mark 6:45-52, Jesus’ disciples were toiling in the boat on the sea against the wind. Jesus saw their precarious situation and went to save them. When they saw him walking upon the sea, they thought it was a spirit. They cried out because they were troubled. But He told them to be of good cheer and not be afraid. The moment He entered the boat, the wind ceased. They were exceedingly amazed.
A turnaround came for the disciples when Jesus entered their boat. You, too, need to allow Jesus into the boat of your life, business, family, etc. and your divine turnaround will manifest. Please take note that Mark 6:48 says, “And he [Jesus] saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them” (KJV). That made rowing very difficult and wearisome because it required more energy to be deployed. A lot of sweating is involved to advance against the resistance of the wind. I pray that the wind will not be contrary to you and your business, career, and family. The wind will blow in your favour; it will not resist your advancement, promotion, breakthrough, or success in Jesus’ name.
“No” to distress
The American Standard Version and some translations do not use the word toiling in Mark 6:48 but use another word: distressed. “And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them…” (American Standard Version).
Distressed, according to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, means (1) very upset and anxious (2) suffering pain; in a poor physical condition (3) (of a piece of clothing or furniture) made to look older and more worn than it really is (4) (formal or business) having problems caused by lack of money. Not all the four meanings apply to the case of Jesus’ disciples but they may perfectly describe some people’s current condition. An end will come to such a condition in Jesus’ name. The Lord will terminate every form of distress in your labour, business, career, etc.
Look at that third meaning of distress: (of a piece of clothing or furniture) made to look older and more worn than it really is. Though this meaning applies to clothing or furniture, it could also be true of human beings. Some people look older than their real age because of life’s distress; they look worn out. Also, the distress involved in accomplishing some things does not allow some people to enjoy them at all or for a long time.
I pray that there shall be no distress in your life. If you’ve suffered any form of distress before now, it is terminated in Jesus’ name. God will deliver you from the toil or distress that makes one look older than one’s real age or look worn out. Distress won’t cut short your life and deny you the opportunity of enjoying the fruits of your labour. The wind of government policies won’t blow misfortune into your business. Government policies and the economy will favour your business, career, and destiny.
Toiling and the curse
The first mention of the word “toil” in the Bible is with regard to the curse God placed on the ground in the Garden of Eden after the disobedience of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:17-19). Toil is a result of the curse.
Genesis 5:28-29 says, “Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. And he called his name Noah, saying, ‘This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed’” (NKJV). The Hebrew word translated toil here is “itstsabown” which means pain, labor, hardship, sorrow, toil. Before the fall, Adam did not engage in painful toil at all; he was put in the garden to tend and keep it (Genesis 2:15).
If you’re born again, you’re no longer under the curse. Jesus said, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working”(John 5:17 NKJV). There’s no mention of fruitless and painful toil. You should work hard but not engage in fruitless and painful toil. Jesus has redeemed you from the curse of the law, including fruitless and painful toil (Galatians 3:3).
In Matthew 6:28, we find the word “toil” again. It says.“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin” (NKJV). Luke 12:27a says a similar thing. The word toil there is as it is used in Luke 5:5 concerning Peter when he toiled all night and caught nothing.
The Bible says the lilies of the field or wildflowers grow without toil or spinning yet Solomon in his entire splendour or glory wasn’t as dressed as one of these lilies. That’s amazing! True success in life is not by painful toil. Matthew 6:33 says, “He [God] will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern” (NLT). The New King James Version renders it thus: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
To avoid painful toil, live for God and make His the Kingdom your primary concern. Put God and His Kingdom first. Work hard but don’t let your work, business, or career become the idol you’re worshipping; don’t promote it above God and His Kingdom.Proverbs 10:22 says, “The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it” (New International Version).
No more fruitless toil
As you act on this message, all painful and fruitless toil in your life will end in Jesus’ name. The Lord will turn around your life positively. In Genesis 41:51 the Bible says, “Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: ‘For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house’” (NKJV). The Hebrew word translated toil is “amal” meaning toil, trouble, labour.
When you remember the story of Joseph prior to when he stood before Pharaoh at 30 years of age, you’ll appreciate his “amal” – his toil, hardship. He gave birth to his firstborn, Manasseh after he had become Prime Minister. At that time, he was no more toiling; God had made him forget his trouble, mischief, toil, labour. He had experienced a divine turnaround. Your turnaround will start today in Jesus’ name. No more fruitless and painful toil for you.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29 NLT). The King James Version uses the word “labour” instead of the word “weary” used by the New Living Translation but they’re saying the same thing.
The word translated labour in the King James Version is “kopiao”, which as I’ve shown before, means to feel fatigue; by implication to work hard – (bestow) labour, toil, be wearied. This season, an end will come to any meaningless, fruitless, and painful toil in your life in Jesus’ name. You’ll no more be weary spiritually, physically, and emotionally. You’ll know the rest that Jesus gives. Your stress will turn into rest.
Conclusion: God will make you forget all your toil, as Joseph said. You won’t operate under the curse but under the blessing.
To enjoy this, live for God and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. Submit yourself to the authority of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Come into a financial partnership with God in your giving. Lay up for yourself treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:20). Bring your business, career, or work into partnership with God and you’ll experience a turnaround, as Peter did. Don’t do things apart from God. Walk and work with Him.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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