After a long night of hard work, a team of professional fisherman had nothing to show for it, nothing but their empty nets.
Jesus approached them early the next day — Peter among them — issuing a challenge: “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.”
Peter’s response? He said what many of us might have said.
“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.”
What Peter said next, however, made all the difference.
“But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
You know how the story ends. They caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break, and they had to call their friends to come and help.
It’s important to remember that Peter’s reason for tying again wasn’t that he suddenly decided to believe in himself.
He tried again because he decided to believe in Jesus. He tried again because he was ready to take Jesus at his Word.
I imagine we’ve all been there. We’ve all spent long days and longer nights trying to do better, trying to be better, trying to make something happen, till we’ve exhausted our resources and drained every ounce of energy — and still there’s nothing to show for it, nothing but an empty net.
With a string of failures behind you, it’s hard to have the nerve to try again. Why should you? You know yourself and nothing has changed. Why should this time be different? In fact, if it’s all on you, and only you, I suppose it makes good sense not to try again.
But remember this story. It’s not all on you. If you believe in Jesus and the simple power of his Word — that’s all the reason you need to try again.
Still holding an empty net? Exhausted from your efforts? Stop thinking, for a moment, about how long the night has been. Stop thinking about what hasn’t happened yet.
Think, instead, about what Jesus is asking you to do.
That “thing” that you’re ready to give up on — that dream, that prayer, that need. Don’t let it go just yet. One more time, go out into the deep, and cast your net.
And, if necessary, cast it again, one more time — as many one-more-times as it takes, and let Jesus fill the net to overflowing.