“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to always try just one more time.”
This quote comes from a familiar, famous failure. This man tried thousands of times to get his invention, the light bulb, to work. There are quotes and stories of people who have failed over and over again yet the story didn’t end there. How often do you or I hear a story of someone who failed and just gave up? Those that failed and gave up fade into obscurity. Let’s look at the prime example between two men who were considered failures yet had two endings that were unpredictable.
The first one was Peter. A zealous man, Paul was one who would speaks before he thought. Nearly every time he spoke, the religious elite had to be shaking their heads. But Peter would become one of the great defenders of Christ – so much that he would have attack the very people who tried to take Christ away to be crucified. Shortly before this incident, Peter would make a claim that would appear to seal the nail in the coffin for him; “I will never deny you.” Shortly after this exchange, Christ would charge that at the third rooster crow that Peter would deny him.
The second one was Judas Iscariot. Enter stage left the man himself, the one who held the money of the Master, one to whom was considered the religious elite. Now, however, when his name is spoken, people do not see the dignified, but the ultimate betrayal.
These two men failed the Master and betrayed him in their own way. But here is where the similarities come to an end. Shortly after discovering the true intentions of the religious elite, Judas hung himself out of despair thus ending the opportunity for redemption in the relationship with Christ. Peter, however, went back to his life before Christ and previous profession – fishing. Out on the boat, Peter was fishing all night and could not catch anything. Christ would call out from the shore and instruct him on where to cast his net and the rest is history. Peter would be called upon to care of His people and the door of redemption was opened for him to walk in to become the father of the modern church.
Do you see it? Two men. Two betrayals. One dies. One lives. One has his destiny cut short. One has his destiny fulfilled. Both failed, yet only one lived to succeed.
In modern history, no other man experienced failure like Abraham Lincoln. Though he had many successes in life, he had plenty of failure that would throw the average person into a full blown mental breakdown. Between 1832 and 1858, Lincoln would lose his job, fail in business, have a lover die, two children die, lose nine plus political advances, had a nervous breakdown, and a wife who battled extreme mental illness. All the while, Lincoln focused on perseverance. Maybe not because he wanted to, but because it was ingrained in him. In 1860, defeating the odds, he became President of the United States of America. Though throughout his presidency there were set backs, he went on to become one of the most revered leaders of the free world.
Today I charge you with this – who will you be? Peter? Judas? Abraham Lincoln? The unknown?