Simple Encouragement When Work Fails

Right in the middle of a long, hard day…

Luke 5 gives encouragement in our work

Tired and discouraged, a man wipes the sweat from his brow. It’s been a day of frustration and the hard work of doing the same mundane task over and over.  Today there is nothing to show for it.

How do we find simple encouragement when our work fails?

Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret;  and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. Luke 5:1-2


How do we find encouragement when we’ve worked hard and our nets are empty?

We’ve all had a day like this. Maybe your whole week has been like this and you’re tired of it. Sometimes the weariness goes deeper when you’ve cast months or years of effort into something, hoping to pull in the catch of your dreams.

At the end of the day are you muttering, “All this work for nothing? What’s the point?”

  • It’s easy to get discouraged when hard work seems to have no result.

Empty-handed, Simon has nothing to show for his labor.  Jesus approaches right in the midst of his weariness.  Coming closer, Jesus gets into his boat, choosing the exact moment to enter into Simon’s situation.

And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. Luke 5:3

It’s no accident that Jesus gets into Simon ‘s boat, and it is never a coincidence when Jesus works in the middle of our circumstances as well. He is in it with us–He’s in our boat in the middle of our failures and our weariness. He is present in our challenges and in the nitty-gritty efforts of daily work.

Willingly, Simon makes his resources available, giving Christ the use of his boat.

  • Jesus wants to use our resources to accomplish His work.
  • We can never give more to Jesus than He will give to us (David Guzik).

At first, Simon is merely a vehicle for what Jesus is doing–there doesn’t appear to be any personal meaning in the interaction. Notice that Jesus involves Simon in what He is doing, even in this simple act of service. Let’s face it, rowing a boat is not glamorous work.

How do we enter into the truth of this story that happened so long ago? Where is the overlap between empty nets and the work in our own lives?

What truth is here for you today?

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men…  Colossians 2:23

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. Psalm 145:18

And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
 My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good… Psalm 73:25-26, 28

More than a story.

Take a few moments and allow the Holy Spirit to show you the truth that can fill your empty net today. Invite Christ into your work, your family, your life, and especially into your failures.

I’ve revamped my Speaking Topics page with video and updated Meet Ginger. Come take a look and see what’s new.

Joining in at Inspire Me Monday and Testimony Tuesday, and #RaRaLinkUp, Coffee for Your Heart, Tell His Story, and Grace and Truth.GraceTruth-600x800



  1. Thanks for blessings with your post. Such an encouraging words. We must Keep our eyes fixed on Him all the time in good times and hard times. He always gives us a lesson of life in our trials.

    I’m visiting you from Inspire Me Monday Linkup
    Love and blessings,
    Tayrina from TGAWrites

    • Ginger Harrington

      So glad to exchange encouragement with you today. Thanks for visiting. I like that you tied in the concept of keeping our eyes on Him. And I’m grateful he’s always working, even in our challenges.

  2. It’s no coincidence that I spilled my heart to God about all my recent failures (it took awhile!) only minutes before opening your post today. The last line obviously resonated deeply: “Invite Christ into your work, your family, your life, and especially into your failures.” Oh, the beauty of an empty net. Thank you, Ginger.

    • Ginger Harrington

      Don’t you love the timeliness of God’s encouragement at times like this. It’s like a whisper of him saying, I see you. I know you. I love you. Praying for encouragement for you today, friend. How well I know the heartbreak of getting dragged under the weight of our perceived failures.

  3. I’m teaching this passage in a different way to 3rd and 4th graders tomorrow night, but I’m glad to have your insights about work. I never thought about how tired and discouraged the fishermen must have been and how Jesus’ presence and personal attention would have affected them. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ginger Harrington

      This will be a fun passage to teach with kids. I’m so glad you have been enriched by your time here. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  4. Thanks for this reminder. Empty hands are great raw material for God. We just need to bring them to Him. Blessings to you.

    • Ginger Harrington

      I love the way you put that–empty hands are raw material for God. Thanks for visiting today. God works through all of us!

  5. I’m so glad you visited my blog today, because that’s what led me here. I love this – “He is in it with us–He’s in our boat in the middle of our failures and our weariness.” Sometimes its easy to recognize God’s hand at work in our lives when we receive an answer to prayer, or are blessed in a special way. But its easy to forget that He is also at work in the middle of our chaos. He is just as much present, and active. He is doing a good work in us, even when we are not able to recognize what that might be.

    Many blessings,

    • Ginger Harrington

      Your comment adds to the ideas in this post. I love the way God continues to expand an idea when we comment and share insights on each other’s posts. Thanks for visiting today. I enjoyed your post!

  6. Thank you for the reminder–I’ve been feeling overworked lately (and that seems to make me feel like I’m on empty as well). I know where to go for refreshment and refueling! I’m so glad he has promised to always be near, ready to help me when I call!

    • Ginger Harrington

      I know God will give you the energy and refreshment you need in this busy time. I hope that your visit here has been part of that process. Be blessed.

  7. From beginning to end – this blessed me!

    • Ginger Harrington

      Yippee! I love getting to be part of a blessing. We can all relate to working hard a something that doesn’t seem to turn out like we wanted. How encouraging to know that Christ is working in the midst of it all.

  8. We can never give more to Jesus than He will give to us. Now that is powerful. It is so easy to allow discouragement to set in when we feel like we are putting out lots of effort, with little return. I love this fresh perspective on that situation. Popped in from #GraceTruth.

    • Ginger Harrington

      Yes, that thought caught my attention. I love reading David Guzik’s study outlines. For me, much of the personal application had to do with trusting God with the writing and ministry process. It takes a load off the discouragement factor when we refresh our perspective, doesn’t it. Thanks for sharing this time with me today, Leah.

  9. Great words of encouragement, Ginger!

    I especially like this word, “Powerful lessons and opportunities come in the disguise of our mundane, simple tasks.”

    That is so true!

    Appreciate you and your ministry~

    • Ginger Harrington

      So glad to connect with you Melanie. Hope you were encouraged by the facebook shout out for your informative article on reaching the younger generation. Thanks for joining us today.

  10. Ginger, I’m so sorry I’m behind on commenting. I was next to you last week at Kelly’s place. What a great post of encouragement! A very special task the Lord asked of me, which I obeyed and finished, has been put on the shelf and I’ve been discouraged about it. But I know it’s His *boat* and He’s steering it. And He’ll catch all the fish He wants…in His own time! Loved your last sentence, What does it look like when Jesus gets into the boat with you in a sea that offers no fish? It may look empty to me but I know it looks full to Him! 😉 Thank you!

    • Ginger Harrington

      I understand totally. There have been many opportunities that I thought God was opening for me where the catch came up empty as far as I could see. It is so easy to let discouragement overwhelm. I’m thankful that you have been encouraged by these words–that’s a big catch indeed. Thanks for stopping by, Lynn.

Leave a Reply to Ginger Harrington Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.