Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the synoptic gospels because they record many of the same events in the life of Jesus. But as law enforcement knows, eyewitnesses often see different things at the same event. Therefore there are details in some of the gospels that are missing in others.
This story is one of those. Luke records the great catch of fish. Matthew and Mark simply say Jesus was beside the sea of Galilee.
The story of this great catch of fish carries two symbols for me. First is the symbol of harvest - a great gathering in. By inference, it symbolizes the kingdom of God gathering in all His faithful and bringing more into the kingdom.
What has always fascinated me is that Jesus gives the fishermen great success in their profession -- and calls them away from it. Look at this carefully.
According to the story they had fished all night with no success. By rights there should have been no fish in the area at all. But they let down the nets at Jesus' command. And they brought in such a haul that it nearly sank two boats.
He took them from the physically demanding profession of fishermen to an even more demanding profession of disciple. They will now need their great strength and endurance for travel and preaching rather than hauling in nets and braving the winds of the sea.
When God sets you to a task, He is responsible for the success of that endeavor. We are responsible for our obedience, instantaneous and unquestioning. But it is God who gives the increase - the harvest - the success. And it is to Him that all the glory of the endeavor belongs.
As disciples, we should be ever learning - and ever aware that the success of our endeavors is due to His presence in our lives, not to our efforts. We are on shaky ground if we begin to believe our own press.
Help us always to remember that You are the source of all power and greatness. Keep us mindful of our position as merely the instruments through which you work. Instill us with gratitude for that privilege.
In Jesus' most precious name.