"Success," said Winston Churchill "is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." Everybody fails. It's part of the process that leads us to maturity and success. Most successful entrepreneurs don't think of their failures as defeats. They think of them as lessons.
Can we begin to think this way? Is it Biblical? I would say yes. Over and over again, we see men and women of the Bible who failed on their first attempt, and second, sometimes three or four times brought not even a hint of what we would see as success.
Look at men like Joseph, who was once a favored son, then a slave, then a prisoner, then falsely accused of rape, then second in command of all of Egypt. How about Samson, a pledged child held to an oath, yet a heart divided, a lust pursued robbed him of the presence of God, who at the end turned back and accepted his own death as a success for the deaths of the godless. What about David, Elijah, Jonah, Peter, Paul, etc.
The Bible speaks over and again about men and women who had their definition of success challenged by the wisdom of God.
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. 1 Cor.1:20-25
God’s wisdom tells us that our Savior died for victory. The world scoffs at that. Worldly wisdom scoffs even more at the resurrection, and they for sure chafe at the thought of Jesus on the throne of all authority.
Let me ask again, how do you judge or measure success? Is it the times that you have tried over and again, and yet failed. Is it that you have tried once and then decided that was enough pain and heartache for any one person or group of persons to take? When is enough enough, when it applies to the task before us as a church in the name if Christ?
Do we examine things brought before us and simply say, “we have tried that, and it did not work.” Shall we say, “well you know ‘so-and-so’ does things like that and we do not want to be associated with them.” Do we fear reaching the lost of this society because it means we will have to explain what we believe scripture calls us to do and then explain it?
I wonder, what Peter thought after his short lived water walk. I wonder if he ever thought of asking for another chance. I wonder if he ever hung his feet over the side of the boat when nobody was looking and tested to see if the waves would hold his weight.
I do know that Peter did not give up following because he sank that night. I do know that Peter did not give up when he verbally denied Christ three times in the night. I know that Peter did not give up when Paul had to rebuke him. I know that he traveled and preached, and suffered all without wavering.
God never gets mired in our past failures. He is constantly viewing our lives with future success in mind.
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (Isa. 43:19).
Someone once said, "When your memories are bigger than your dreams, you're headed for the grave." God wants to give us new dreams that are bigger than anything that has ever happened to us in the past.
Let us stand and accept the challenge of reaching the lost means to us.