Failure Isn’t Final

“I was afraid.” Luke 19:21 NIV

“Life has direction – flowing toward you with blessing, or away from you from lack of that.”

My thoughts today are, “failure isn’t final.”

How would you reward a very capable financial adviser who accepted management of your retirement savings, but did nothing with them? His only explanation? He was afraid to lose your money, and simply held your original investment for safe return. Would you praise him for his caution, or replace him for his waste of valuable time and loss of expected gain?

Jesus told just such a story about the Kingdom of God, illustrating each individual’s responsibility for good stewardship of Kingdom opportunities – both ample resource and generous reward. Read Luke 19:11-26 NLT. Among several people given valuable opportunity for reward, one was overcome with his fear of failing and simply hid what was trusted into his hands for safe return it later. Fear keeps you from trying. His ultimate failure was greater than the failure he originally feared.

Here, in Jesus’ own words, is the principle He is teaching you, “To those who use well what they have been given, even more will be given. But from those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken from them.” Luke 19:26 NLT. “To those . . from those!” Do you notice in Jesus’ words the direction that life flows? Life has direction – either flowing toward you with blessing, or flowing away from you because of your lack of that. What he thought safe cost him more than he knew, until all was taken and entrusted to another more committed to his master’s pleasure.

There’s a life lesson in that. Don’t try to fail, but don’t fear to fail either. Everyone deals a bit with a fear of failing. I don’t think anyone enjoys failing. It doesn’t feel good. It’s embarrassing and discouraging. It seems a waste of one’s time, effort, and expense – and often is. There is a difference between failing and being a failure; anyone can do the first; no one has to be the latter. And there is a distinction between failing something you try to do, or failing to be who you are meant to be.

But here’s another side to consider; some of life’s most valuable lessons can come from attempts that failed. Often future success can be built on past attempts that didn’t work. Failure sometimes is the cost of learning how to succeed. It’s not the end of the world; learn something useful from it.

Thomas Edison, inventor of the electric light bulb, had many failures in his experimentation. Rather than be discouraged by those, he is reported to have reasoned that he had eliminated hundreds of ways that would not work. He was that much closer to success, and he did succeed. He made failure serve his efforts. So can you. Failure isn’t final, unless you let it be.

Being averse to every risk is a sure way to miss any reward. You won’t do everything right the first time; no one does. Keep trying. You won’t do everything well on your first try; no one will. Keep trying. But if you are afraid to try, you will never do anything right or well, maybe not do anything at all. You are gifted and possibly needing to believe that.

“God has given gifts to each of you from His great variety of gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you (see that life-direction?) . . do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory in everything through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 4:10-11 NLT. God has given you many gifts; gifts for His purpose and use. How you use those determines your life’s rewards.

My prayer for you today is that you freely give your best to God and others, without fear.