By: Richard Gazowsky
This year, 2012, is one of transition that, for most of you, will be the beginning of great success that will affect the rest of your lives. This means you will be establishing new relationships (most of them involving your workplace) with people who will stick with you for a long time. That’s why it’s important that we be very careful about whom we will associate with. There is a tendency for most of us to only choose successful people, those whom we think will be loyal to the very end, and who will never jump ship. But I believe someone who has failed before might actually be a better choice.
Jesus especially favored Peter, for he was the risk-taker who was willing to get out of the boat, when the other apostles just sat there watching Jesus walk on the water. Peter chose to take the gamble and join Jesus. But that same bold and courageous Peter was a complete failure before Calvary, where he denied Christ and claimed he didn’t even know Him. Yet Peter was still the man Jesus chose to be the leader of the apostles.
As a matter of fact, most of the apostles Jesus selected didn’t make very good showings at Calvary. Yet they were chosen to follow Him and spearhead the First Century Church, which eventually converted most of the Roman Empire. In other words, our initial assumptions about what will make great followers may not be as accurate as we think. This is why many people, who fled your organization or group when times got tough, might be the very ones you need to open the door to and invite back inside. Of course each case should be enquired about from the Lord.
To be honest, there’s no way I could accurately describe my life as a list of all successes. Instead, it looks more like a conglomeration of various failures. But God has been merciful to help me deal with each one, and for me to also learn incredible lessons along the way. And, if there were successes in there somewhere, it was totally the Lord’s doing and definitely not mine. The point of all this is for us, especially those who have assumed leadership roles, to understand the reality of who God is and ask Him to help us appoint the right people to join us on our journey of success.
God is looking for you to build a team of people who have been humbled by God, whose thoughts and intents, have been purified by the fires of failure. I’ve found that those who are willing to admit that they’ve made mistakes are the same ones who are waiting for the chance to commit to impossible tasks that may be set before them. This was the kind of commitment that set Peter apart. Once he saw Jesus walking on the water, he committed himself to the possibility of doing the same act because of the emotional excitement of the moment.
But when Peter stepped onto the water he was overcome by the danger around him and was unable to keep his focus completely on the Lord. When he began to sink into the stormy waves he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out and helped Peter back into the boat. Even though the Lord said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”, He wasn’t upset because Peter tried. He didn’t say something like, “Now Peter, water walking is only reserved for Me.” This story remains in Scripture as a shining example of a quality that Jesus admired in His followers.
It was Peter’s willingness to boldly step out, even if his action resulted in failure, that Jesus admired. It’s the same distinguishing attribute you should look for when it comes to selecting the companions you’ll be working with during the next series of years in your life. Risk-takers are hard to come by. They are people who are willing to put everything on the line for something they believe is right. When it comes to the lukewarm and overly cautious, the earth is full of those types. There are literally billions of these kinds of people, who will never rise above the status quo. They are the ones that God said (in the Book of Revelation) that He would vomit out of His mouth.
There is no divine interest in mediocrity. Governments, businesses, and churches are full of mediocre people, who begin their sentences like, “I’m concerned”, “I wonder if we are wise to change anything”, “Isn’t that taking an awful risk”, “Shouldn’t we choose a more safe route,” or “I’ll never live with myself if our board makes a decision that hurts one poor little soul.”
That was a list of some of the most famous cautious quotes that I’ve heard coming from people who had the ability to put their feet in doors to stop “risky” operations. Not only are such people dangerous, but I feel they are terrorists to good works. It’s time that you and I realize we need to refuse to work with these types and instead embrace persons who have experienced failures. Wow! What a motley crew of joy-mongers who will sail away on the good ship Lollipop. Come and get on board! Let’s have the same kind of fun Shirley Temple had!
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Richard Gazowsky pastors a church in San Francisco called The Voice of Pentecost, and is also president of Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks. He has directed the films, “Guardians” and “The Roman Trilogy.”