Do you feel like a failure sometimes?

Have you disappointed someone so much that you just felt horrible?

The night before I left for college I got in an argument with my dad. I really don’t know what it was about, but I know it had to do with me being an idiot. So I told him I didn’t want him to drive me to the airport, I would have someone else do it. He could drive me to his place. That night I couldn’t sleep and didn’t want my last night to end like that, so I wrote him a letter and taped it on my bathroom mirror. I said how sorry I was and didn’t deserve a dad like him. I can remember when he dropped me off, he gave me a hug, and for the first time I can remember, my dad cried.

Have you ever disappointed someone so bad you felt like you didn’t deserve how good they were to you? That’s how I felt.

Have you ever disappointed Jesus? Have you ever felt unworthy to be a follower of Jesus? Maybe you feel like Jesus is ashamed of you because of your behavior or belief. Well, I have good news for you. You are in the same situation as the early followers of Jesus.

Jesus’ twelve disciples were actually a bunch of jealous failures who were so focused on themselves that they failed to help one small child while Jesus was away. If you read Luke 9:37-56 you will discover that the disciples failed Jesus several times but He didn’t give up on them. He continued to lead them and they continued to follow. This group of guys would eventually turn the world upside down.

Jesus is patient with our failure, ignorance, pride, and anger.

We fail – Jesus succeeds. (Luke 9:37-42)

While three disciples were on the mountain witnessing the glory of Jesus, the rest were failing a father and his son. The boy had physical and spiritual needs. Their failure was not because they did not try. They did their very best without Jesus. What happened is a real life example of the difference Jesus Christ can make.

Do you want to succeed? Make sure Jesus is with you.

We are ignorant – Jesus knows the truth (Luke 9:43-45)

While all were amazed at the power of Jesus, He re-emphasized why He came – to suffer for the sins of mankind. No one understood this, but Jesus continued to lead them to the truth. Jesus always told the truth even if people didn’t want to hear.

Are you having a hard time understanding? Trust the truths of Jesus.

We are proud – Jesus honors the humble (Luke 9:46-48)

The disciples were arguing about who was the greatest. Jesus used the disciples’ quarrel to reveal true greatness – humility. While the disciples were jostling for supremacy, Jesus honored a little child. Jesus didn’t rebuke them for wanting to be great. He simply redefined ‘greatness’ for them. Greatness is anyone humble enough to welcome a little children in His name. Our world needs Jesus’ kind of greatness.

Are you too focused on yourself? Discover ways to honor others, the least of your world.

We are angry – Jesus loves (Luke 9:49-56)

Two situations revealed the disciples attitude. Because some healers weren’t part of their group, they wanted Jesus to turn against them. In another situation, because a Samaritan city didn’t want to receive Him, John and James suggested to call fire down from heaven.

The disciples wanted an exclusive club, but Jesus had an open heart. The disciples wanted to punish those who differed from them, Jesus wanted to extend mercy. The disciples were interested in keeping people out, but Jesus was interested in bringing people in.

Are you building walls or bridges to people who are different from you? Follow Jesus’ lead and build some bridges.

Life is a series of wins and losses. A win doesn’t make you a success. A loss doesn’t make you a failure. This group of disciples had failure after failure but they continued to follow Jesus. We discover a few years later, a community leader refers to them as “they that have turned the world upside down.” If you want to turn the world upside down, don’t let your losses stop you. Continue to follow Jesus.

I’m sure you’ve heard of some of the more famous failure to success stories. I hope this will encourage you to continue in spite of failure.

  • Steve Jobs started Apple with two men in a garage and it became a $2 billion company. Steve Jobs was fired from the very company he began, Apple. He returned as the CEO and said that getting fired was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.
  • Albert Einstein, associated with intelligence and genius, cound’t speak fluently until he was nine years old and was expelled from school. He is quoted as saying, “Success is failure in progress.”
  • Abraham Lincoln failed in business (1831), suffered a nervous breakdown (1836), failed in his run for president (1856), yet became America’s greatest president (1861). He said, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”
  • Michael Jordan said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
  • Walt Disney dropped out of school at a young age in a failed attempt at joining the army. One of his early ventures, Laugh-o-Gram Studios, went bankrupt due to his lack of ability to run a successful business. He was fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough.” Yet, today Disney studios is responsible for generations of childhood memories and dreams. From Snow White to Frozen, Disney entertains the world.