There is such a sensitivity to failure. People today are almost hypervigilant about being “safe”, playing it “safe”. Frankly I hear the word safe/safety so abused I just want to cringe from embarrassment, because there are so many who cringe in fear. Do the reading, in Christian history, any kind of history. Say what you will, but there is a lot of courage in the business world. Reading an article in Forbes, Warren Buffets children said that he expect them to fail, if they weren’t failing at some point then they weren’t really doing what needed to be done.
Where would we be if people like Columbus, Edison (I’m sure you’ve heard it took 500 attempts for him to get the incandescent light right), the American Founding Fathers. There have been a lot of people who’ve tried but failed, but who should probably be recognized just because they made the effort to make it better for someone else.
In secular terms, I certainly can’t say I’ve been any kind of success, but I have been faithful. Is there any doubt that God is not always about success in our life, but He is about our being faithful, taking the chances, not cowering in fear.
You’ve no doubt heard of Corning Glass, in Corning, NY. It’s been around for 162 years, that alone should tell you it’s got to have something going for it. Connie Guglielmo writes in an interview with Matt Dejneka: “There are no accidents.” “Those four words could sum up Corning’s 162-year history of continuous reinvention. No concoction is ever deemed an accident or true failure since Corning believes in ‘patient capital,’ the idea of investing in unproven technologies even if there’s no quick profit. The firm is rife with stories of inventions that sat on the shelves for decades until the right opportunity came along. The weather-resistant borosilicate glass designed for railroad lanterns gave rise to Pyrex cookware…” (Forbes Mag Sept 23, 2013 p 90)
Not failure, so much as the right opportunity. Those who stayed “safe” weren’t remembered. We remember Moses, Abraham, David, Paul, Matthew, Peter on and on. We don’t remember those who were “smart”, and played it “safe”. The world calls us to be “safe”, and I still can not understand what that means, safe into a mediocre twilight of existence, simply fading away. There is no hope and promise in what the world offers, and it certainly doesn’t offer anything that doesn’t rot, die and decay. Centuries of Christians have been called to stand up and challenge the world, in whatever God guides us to do, in the church, in education, in business in the government. Christians have been playing it “safe” for too long and yes that certainly includes the church. Even as the church we believe the world’s story and not Christ’s, we cringe and cower just to tell those around us about Him. We are put into these places for a reason, not to be obnoxious and loud, but to be faithful, the reason for our strength, our faith, our existence is in Christ the Lord.