Summary: This sermon is about surviving our failures in order to claim our future

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The Art of Surviving Failure

Luke 5:1-11

-Pastor A. L. Torrence, Cross of Life Lutheran Church

I have heard one preacher say that, “to laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk involvement. To expose feelings is to risk exposing our true self. To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd, is to risk loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair. To try at all is to risk failure. But to risk we must, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”(Pastor Erin Cole, First Baptist Church,

The man who risks nothing in life will die having lost all. The woman who takes no chances will always hope for a second chance. Many of us have nothing because we risked nothing. We have no hope because we live constantly discouraged. We have no joy because pain has made us bitter. We have no love because trials have soured our ability to trust. Our dreams have been deferred. We have fallen and fail to get back up. We’ve compounded one mistake by allowing the fear of failure to swallow up our vision. We have failed at the art of surviving failure. We have aborted an opportunity to birth a great achievement.

Some think that failure and surrender is synonymous with the will of God. We think that failure is defined as making a mistake or error in judgment. But, failure is not determined by the mistake you made. Failure is based upon how you respond to that mistake. Failure is determined if and when you give up on something you’ve been attempting to accomplish. Being a teenage or unwed parent does not make you a failure. No failure is determined in how you will now care for that child. Getting hooked on drugs or alcohol doesn’t classify you as a loser. But refusing to get help or treatment can cause you to lose our on reality. Your failed marriage is no reflection on your ability to love. No failure is determined on how you now used that love to reach others. Your response to failure determines your level of success and accomplishment.

Successful people know how to handle failure. Those who left significant strokes on the canvas of time knew how to deal with major disappointments. Come on now, it took Albert Einstein to fail at math before he realized e=mc2. Isaac Newton had to endure the falling of an apple on his head before discovering the theory of gravity. Josephine Baker had to fail at being a success in segregated America before going to Paris and claiming her fame. Michael Jordan had to fail at making his high school basketball team before making the NBA. It is your response to failure that determines your destiny. One can play it safe and never attempt to score. You can follow all the rules and never run after your vision. You can color your life within the boundaries of society and never leave behind a masterpiece that will change your community. But, in the end when death comes knocking at your door, you may find yourself frustrated, angry, and upset because of opportunities never taken; doors never opened, and dreams never pursued. In the words of President Roosevelt, “No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his body, to risk his well-being, to risk his life for a great cause.”

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