Wasco Tribune - Serving the community since 1970

By Jim Neal
First Southern Baptist Church, Shafter 

Pastor's Corner - Dec. 12, 2019

Don’t be afraid of mistakes


Last updated 12/14/2019 at 4:09pm | View PDF

“…forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus…”

--Philippians 3:13, 14

George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” Wouldn’t life be easier to “swallow” if we could just remember these words?

I often wonder why we worry so much about making mistakes -- sometimes so much so that it paralyzes our creativity and even dulls our ability to dream. Life would be so much more exciting if we would revert to our childhood; yes, way back to the time where if we could think it, we would try it -- again and again, if necessary.

Somewhere along the way we began to equate “hiccups” in life as absolute failures instead of as what they were, just small snafus. We find it impossible to hail the words of the Apostle Paul to “forget the things that are behind.” Think of two statements: 1) I have failed hundreds of times and 2) I am a failure. Both could have been spoken by the same person after surveying the exact situation. Now I ask you: Which one carries the most weight and power? Thomas Edison, the greatest inventor of all time, could have said both; however, thankfully he looked at each mistake as a way that did not work instead of looking at himself as a failure.

Paul Galvin at the young age of 33 had failed in business twice already. He was attending a public auction of the leftovers of his most recent business failure a storage battery business. He had only $750 left to his name. Mustering up all the gumption he could, he took that money and won the bid to buy back the battery eliminator portion of his failed business. That portion of his old business became the cornerstone of a business that everyone reading these words has heard of -- it became Motorola,

The Great Apostles Peter and Paul could have viewed themselves as total failures. Peter denied the Lord at the time when Christ needed him most. Paul, after meeting the resurrected Lord on the road to Damascus, could have surveyed his life of persecuting the young church and his participation as utter failures. However, both these men rose from the ashes of despair and discouragement, received the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives and proceeded to become supreme witnesses to the Lord of Lord and King of Kings.

The only way to combat the feeling of crippling failure is to replace it with the only known antidote, which works 100% of the time when applied, and that is the concept of [BEGIN ITAL]faith.[END ITAL] The writer of Hebrews defines faith as. “…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Paul Galvin, Thomas Edison, Peter and Paul, and a myriad of other unknown believers applied this definition either knowingly or unknowingly -- why can’t you?

I read recently that the saddest commentary of life contains three descriptive phrases -- could have been, might have been and should have been. Is your life being defined and governed by any of these three? If so, apply to the fraternity of faith and change all that. It was Ben Franklin who admonished, “Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.” Having said all this, the best advice I have ever read said this, “Whenever you fall, pick something (or someone) up.”

Have a great week “picking something up.”

]Jim Neal is pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church in Shafter.


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