I began to ask myself questions. “Did I do something wrong?” “Did the fish escape during a recent flood?” “Did the fish die off?” All of this created a lot of doubts in my mind. This past Saturday I went fishing and caught this 3.5 lb catfish. This catch did a lot to encourage me concerning the catfish pond. Obviously, one fish is not a harvest, but at least I know there are fish in the pond.
This story reminds me of our service to the Lord. Sometimes we go through periods when the harvest is slim. Sometimes we question our work. Sometimes we question our methods…then something happens to restore our confidence.
We are facing a new year. Hopefully all of us will face the New Year with new confidence. What lessons can we learn from the catfish?
First, be faithful. The apostle Paul said, “It is required of stewards that a man be found faithful.” (I Cor. 4:1) God is not looking for intelligence, flashy ideas, or appearances. He wants His servants to be faithful.
Over the past four years I have faithfully fed the catfish. I have nurtured the water to keep algae down. I have read articles about maintaining a catfish pond. I provided care to the best of my ability. But I wasn’t catching many fish.
Second, do not give up. When the Israelite people left Egypt, everything was not smooth travelling. After they began their journey they came to the waters of the Red Sea. As they faced the barrier of the water, they faced a worse challenge from the rear, Pharaoh. They were sandwiched between those two barriers. They struggled with fear. Moses encouraged them by saying, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today.” (Exo. 14:13) Moses would not let them give up.
Third, be ready for the harvest. Just because you are empty today does not mean you will be empty tomorrow. If you are faithful and do not give up the harvest will come. It may take time. It may not be overnight. There is a large surprise laying under the surface of your ministry.
As you face the New Year God has some wonderful blessings in store for you. May God bless you with a special harvest.