John 21:5-6 Jesus said to them, "Children, do you have any fish?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.
When we "serve God" through self-efforts, using our past experiences or education as our guide alone, we sometime come against the wall and get zero results. That was the disciples' grief. Peter said, "I am going fishing" and the rest followed him. But for a whole night they caught nothing. The next morning, they saw Jesus (whom they could not recognize initially) standing on the shore, asking them if they caught any fish. Their dismal answer was: "No". Despite their experience as professional fishermen, they could not catch any fish. Jesus then told them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." Now, perhaps, they were sniggering and muttering under their breath: "Left or right side--what's the difference? It's still water under our boat!" But to their surprise, they caught not just "some" fish but 153 large fish!
So, why the difference? It's WHO's speaking. The first time, it was PETER who said, "I am going fishing," and disciples followed him. This time, it's JESUS speaking, and they obeyed his instructions and caught the fish! The key to success-whether work or ministry is hearing the right voice. Among many voices telling us what to do to be successful, we have to discern Jesus' voice for us today. When we can hear His clear instructions to us and obey, we see fruitfulness and success in work & ministry. By the way, catching fish is not a metaphor for the fishermen - it's money-making business for the disciples. I'm sure they are not going to keep the 153 fish in the freezer and eat fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 51 days! I'm quite sure they will sell them in the fish market to make some good income. So, don't think for a moment that Jesus is only interested in getting us to catch "spiritual" fish (soul-winning), though the same principle will apply.
So, the key to success in work or ministry is hearing God's voice. When He speaks we obey. And we should listen not just for "ministry" word but also the "marketplace" counsel.
Father, we thank You that You make no distinction between the spiritual and secular because the whole world belongs to You. Thank You that all our success comes as a result of hearing and obeying You. Amen.