Did you ever watch a bunch of ants building an anthill? They work very hard trying to accomplish their task. All of a sudden, however, the rain can come and destroy all of their hard work. Their work seems to be entirely in vain—at least for the time being.
Our efforts in life can sometimes seem like they are all for naught. Simon Peter in St. Luke’s Gospel echoes this sentiment when, after an all-night fishing expedition, he relates the following to Jesus: “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing. . .” (Luke: 5:5a) The passage seems to indicate that Simon and his companions’ efforts were long and tedious but without result.
Psalm 127 reminds us that “Unless the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build.”
Do the things we attempt in life start in prayer? Are we doing what the Lord wants us to do or are we trying to convince the Lord that the things that we are doing are worth our time and effort?
We can be very busy doing things. None of these things can be bad in and of themselves. However, we can spin our wheels—so to speak—and not get anywhere or get very much accomplished unless we center our work in doing what the Lord wants.
If we finish reading the above passage from St. Luke, it continues: “ ‘. . . but at your command I will lower the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing.” (Luke 5: 5b-6)
Things are different with the Lord’s inspiration and sustenance. The apostles’ efforts produced a result greater that their imagining!
Pray constantly. Pray before you start a project. Pray while you work. Pray in thanksgiving when you finish.
Otherwise, we can wind up like those ants after the rain.
Fr. Ed Namiotka