The Barnabas File
Volume 4 Number 10, 8/31/04
“He….encouraged them al that with purpose of heart they should
continue with the Lord.” Acts 11:23
Failure Is An Event – Not A Person!
III. Questions To Ponder When Faced With Failure
1. Have I been guilty of making comparisons? You are God’s own special person.
2. Have I developed a right attitude towards failure and disappointments? No room for bitterness.
3. Have I discovered the kind of person that I am? We are all products of our parents, peers, past.
4. Have I taken a long term view of my ministry? This is God’s only view.
5. Have I caught the PLOM disease (Poor Little Old Me)?
6. Have I remembered that God keeps the record books?
7. Have I sought to sit at Jesus’ feet and find His will? Staying in the Word even through tough times.
8. Have I educated myself on the principles of conflict resolution? They are for us too!
9. Have I majored on my gifts or the fruit of the Spirit? Think this one though.
10. Have I remembered that I am in a spiritual warfare and Satan is my enemy?
11. Have I made the Psalms my supplications? Pray the Scriptures when you don’t have words to say.
12. Have I learned to forgive and forget? Time can heal if our hearts are right.
IV. Examples of Failure In The Scriptures
The Scriptures are filled with examples of those called of God who failed somewhere along the way, wherein that encourages me that there is hope – life after failure! Let me share just three examples of men in ministry who failed God, why they failed God, and how God met them where they were. In essence, they were three preachers who wanted to quit! There are some “givens” in the lives of each of these three men: they were all called by God; equipped by God; sent by God; and used by God! But their weaknesses, or failures, exceeded their strengths, which always happens when we lose our focus and take our eyes off of Christ. Their names are Moses (Numbers 11:10-17), Elijah (I Kings 19:1-8, 13-16), and Jonah (Jonah 1:1-2:1; 3:1-2.) Often one’s experience with failure and discouragement in ministry, and maybe even the desire to quit ministry, as did these three men, follows a pattern of similarities as revealed in the texts above. Note them well for it is vitally important that we “learn” through our failures.
1. Moses lost his confidence, Elijah lost his courage and Jonah lost his compassion.
2. Moses felt inadequate, Elijah felt insignificant and Jonah was insincere.
3. Moses said, “I can’t,” Elijah said, “I’m nothing,” and Jonah said, “I won’t!”
4. Moses’ reason for quitting was because he couldn’t do the job; Elijah because he was the
only one to do the job; while Jonah just didn’t want to do the job!
5. Moses lost his focus on God, Elijah lost his faith in God and Jonah lost his fear of God.
6. Moses was feeble, Elijah was fatigued and Jonah was foolish.
7. Moses was willing to die, Elijah wanted to die and Jonah insisted on dying.
8. Moses’s decision to quit took a few days (three), Elijah a few hours (24) and Jonah just a few
minutes (maybe seconds).
9. Moses was buried in the desert, Elijah buried in a cave and Jonah buried in the sea.
10. Moses learned to receive help, Elijah learned to be ministered to, and Jonah learned to pray.
Future thoughts to be considered in this study:
1. During times of failure we must remember the greatness of God.
2. During times of failure we must not forget the purpose of our call.
3. Helpful texts for desperate times.
Maynard H. Belt
Michigan Association of Regular Baptist Churches