Summary: Using the words of Solomon to gain wisdom for daily living. Today we look at why we should not give up.


Proverbs 24:16

August 11, 2019

What do these people have in common?

Sir James Dyson

Jerry Seinfeld

Theodor Seuss Geisel

Elvis Presley

Michael Jordan

They were all said to have failed. James Dyson failed 5,126 times in his invention of the Dyson bagless vacuum.

Jerry Seinfeld was booed off the stage early in his comedic career.

Theodor Seuss Geisel had his first book rejected 27 times before Dr. Seuss became published.

Elvis was told he had no ability and to get back in his truck and leave.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

Did you know Abraham Lincoln went into the army as a captain and returned as a private? He also lost more elections than he won.

Thomas Edison was told by his teachers he was ‘too stupid to learn anything.’

Walt Disney was told he ‘lacked imagination and had no good ideas.’

Albert Einstein was thought to be mentally handicapped.

Stephen King’s first book, Carrie, was rejected 30 times. And he threw it in the garbage. His wife pulled it out and convinced him not to give up.

Vincent Van Gogh sold just one painting during his lifetime.

Now, that may sound kind of depressing, but the point is that these people and so many others I haven’t mentioned, never gave up. They may have become discouraged, they may have wanted to quit, but they persisted and persevered, even when others were telling them they weren’t capable.

For the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at our words, the words we use when speaking to our family and friends, and to the rest of the world. Today, as we finish our look at the book of Proverbs, gaining wisdom from the words of Solomon, I want to look at what it means to BE WISE in the way we live when the odds seem to be against us. When the world doesn’t give us much hope.

Now remember, awhile ago, I spoke about my definition of failure. Failure means we just give up, we don’t try, we quit. But if you don’t achieve what you worked towards, it doesn’t mean you failed, it simply means you didn’t succeed as much as you hoped for.

I believe we find it too easy to say we failed, and we cast ourselves in a negative light, when that’s definitely not the case.

This is about the importance of being willing to try again, about not giving up. Solomon tells us –

16 For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. – Proverbs 24:16

Solomon is saying that the difference between a wise man and a fool isn’t determined by how many times he isn’t successful. Because we will all mess up, at times, we will not achieve what we hoped for. But the difference between a wise person and a fool is that the wise person gets up and goes at it again, learning from the past, getting a little better, a little wiser and smarter, maybe more determined.

The fool is the person who makes that one attempt, then gives up. When they stumble, when life doesn’t go the way they want, they tend to throw their arms up in the air and quit.

Sometimes we have to make mistakes and mess up. Sometimes, that’s the only way we learn. Think about a child – when they’re learning to walk. If they quit each time they fell, we would never be walking. It’s the same with riding a bicycle and doing so many things we take for granted.

The best way to try to attain what you desire is to make a commitment to try again and again. Yes, there are times, when we must realize that the activity or even career we’re attempting isn’t right for us, and we need to move on, but that’s not quitting. It’s gaining wisdom of what you can and cannot do. It’s rare that we get the results we hoped for the first time we try something. It takes persistence and dedication to get what you really want. It’s a willingness to try and try again.

If you’re experiencing what you consider repeated failures, the last thing you probably want to hear right now is, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

You may not want to hear it, but you need to do it.

We’ve all been there. We’ve started diets that weren’t successful and we gave up. We’ve started Bible reading plans and they fizzled. We’ve made New Year’s resolutions that didn’t make it 2 days. We’ve tried exercising and gave that up. We’ve started home projects that never took off. We’ve contemplated job and career changes, but never went through with the application. We’ve all been there!

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