A short time back I got a phone call from a friend that owns his own business. He had taken on a job that required an extra hand, so he called me to see if I’d be interested in helping him for a few days. I, of course, agreed and made the appropriate plans to be with him on his job site. He’s very knowledgeable and skilled in his craft, whereas I, on the other hand, was there simply to offer whatever assistance he needed.
Over the next few days, while I worked to the best of my ability, I often found myself frustrated and empty, even though I worked hard and got paid. I would listen to some of his instructions and would still not get things exactly how they needed to be; I’d watch how to use a certain tool, and still have trouble making it work when I got the opportunity. While he’d breeze through a task, the same one would take what seemed like forever to complete. For a person like me that wants things to be done right and excellent, those few days were filled with aggravation, frustration and fatigue.
And then God reminded me, “relax, your frustration comes because this isn’t what you were built to do.”
This is the life of so many and I have no doubt, it’s why so many work hard, make good money and live completely tired, frustrated and incomplete.
In Luke 5, Jesus was taking a stroll by the lake, teaching, with throngs of people following almost too close for comfort. On His way around the shore line, He passed some fishermen, who at the end of a days work had left their boats stranded and were making their way to clean their nets, minus one tired and frustrated fisherman who was still left in his boat, pondering a day of despair and unfulfillment. Jesus, putting a little distance between Himself and the load of people following, stepped over into this fisherman’s boat, sat down to rest His feet and continued teaching to those on the shoreline that were eager to listen.
As He finished teaching, He turned and addressed the boat owner, some guy named Simon, who in spite of this great teaching and the presence of the One that was in the boat with him, was still caught up in the despair of his day. Simon said, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing..” What Jesus did next, is just what Jesus does next when you encounter Him. He changed his life and charged his purpose.
Jesus graciously, allowed him to see that the frustration and lack of fulfillment that he was experiencing, wasn’t from having the wrong tools or equipment or even a desire to succeed, but simply that he was spending his life attempting to succeed in a job, trying to make ends meet, that he was never built to succeed in. (That oblivious chase gets tiring.)
This is the picture of humanity. Working the same routine that I worked for several days, trying to succeed at a job that your personal gifts and abilities were never meant for. God never intended for you to be a slave to a dollar or an accepted routine. He never intended for you to pursue life with so much gas in your tank for success but never any impact.
My grandfather worked over 50 years as a carpenter; which was a very rigorous and laborious profession. There were times in the summers that I would help him out when I got a little older and I remember him always telling me, “work smart, not hard.” The smartest work you can do, is to listen to the Master and discover that dream, that purpose that He’s built you for, and then work hard to develop it. Don’t be so caught up in the despair of today’s labor and the dream of a paycheck, that you can’t hear God talking to you from inside of the boat, because you’re already plotting on how to pursue tomorrow. It would have been a shame for Simon to be so focused on the day’s failure and the dread of tomorrow that he never heard Jesus telling him he wasn’t even supposed to be on the lake!
Because a frustrated fisherman, listened to the Master, obeyed with an act faith and cared to pursue his purpose, we find something different just a short time later in Acts 2. A broken, unfulfilled fisherman who spent his days of hard work and caught nothing became an empowered voice of impact, who with his first message had a “catch” of three thousand lives.
How will you respond to that teacher in your boat?
When all this is said and done, you want to be as Paul was; your life poured out as a drink offering. Not because you’re empty from trying to keep up in a race you weren’t supposed to run, but because you’ve given away every gift of purpose that was in you.
Put down the net and get out of the boat. Don’t wait any longer. Pursue what’s in you, not what’s around you.