By Bob Wilkin
Over the years I’ve had lots of failures in life. I know we all have. But I’m more acutely aware of my own failures than I am of those of others.
Have you ever felt like giving up on your job, your ministry in your church, or on some major responsibility you bear?
I have. I believe we are all tempted to throw in the towel at times.
What keeps us going?
For me these are the things that keep me going:
“Can’t never did anything” (my dad).
“You will do great things with your life” (my mom).
“Well done, good and faithful servant” (Luke 19:17, the words I long to hear the Lord say).
“If we endure, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Tim 2:12).
“It is finished!” (John 19:30, the Lord’s second to last words on the cross).
Notice that some of what percolates in my head are the words of my parents. Yes, Scripture controls my worldview. However, my parents, though not perfect, did instill some good values in me, values consistent with Scripture. Whenever the gems our parents gave us match up with Scripture, that is a powerful combination.
Lots of people thought I’d never amount to anything in life. Of course, lots of people think that GES is not a good thing, and I’m wasting my time here.
My mentor, Zane Hodges, was criticized an awful lot. I take solace in the fact that the amount of criticism I’ve received is far less than that which Zane received. But still, criticism hurts, especially from people who’ve been close.
If people close to you—your parents, your boss, your employees, your spouse, your kids—have said that you are a failure in life, do not let that derail your service for Christ. We answer to the Lord Jesus at His Judgment Seat. While it would be great if those close to us encourage us, lack of support is no excuse. We are called to be faithful:
It is required in stewards that one be found faithful (1 Cor 4:2).
Maybe those who say that you were a bad boss or bad child or bad parent or bad employee are right. Maybe they are wrong and just being spiteful. But we can either wilt under actual or phantom failure, or we can keep on keeping on.
Paul went on to say,
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court [lit. “day”]. In fact, I do not even judge myself, yet I am not justified [vindicated] by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts (1 Cor 4:3-5a).
We all fail. And we are charged with more failures than we are actually guilty of. Don’t let failure get you down. Seek His approval. Seek His “Well done, good servant.” Be watchful for His soon return.
Bob Wilkin is Executive Director of Grace Evangelical Society. He lives in Highland Village, TX, with his wife of 43 years, Sharon. His latest book is Turn and Live: The Power of Repentance.