Failure is Fuel for Your Future

Rich Wilkerson Jr

Did you know Jesus told His disciples they would fail from time to time?

In Matthew 10, after Jesus spent a season teaching and equipping His followers, He sent them out to do the work He had been demonstrating. These were the words He gave His disciples as they went their way:

“And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.”-Matthew 10:14

Jesus warned His followers of failure and gave them a plan to move beyond it. This week’s Insider clip features Rich Wilkerson Jr. walking us through the reality that God only works with failures. 

Watch the video below to see how failure can actually be used as the fuel to build the future you desire. 

Prefer to read rather than watch? Here’s the transcript to Rich’s talk:

What I'm always reminded as I start thinking about the hard task that God has called me to is the truth of matter is, men and women, is that God has not called you to a hard task. God has actually called you to an impossible task. If I can get something into your heart today, it's this, is that God hasn't called you just to do hard stuff, God's called you to do impossible stuff and the only way that you will get there is by obeying him every step of the way. Yet as leaders, what happens to us if we're being honest is, we start thinking about this impossible thing that he's called us to. Some of you just being here throughout yesterday and hearing this speaking and then being in the worship, God's been speaking even clearer to you and been giving you a word and you're going, "God, this is too big. This is too hard."

Our knee jerk reaction is to start to go through all of our limitations, why we can't do something, why we won't do something. Here's what I've learned about leaders. I've learned that typically the thing that stops us from moving forward and participating in the impossible task that God has called us to is typically two things. It's this, it's number one it's, failure of the past and it's also fear of failure in the future. I don't know what it is, but we as leaders, we just automatically go back to our past failure and if we somehow get past that, then all of a sudden we move right on to our future failure. Stuff that hasn't even happened yet, we assume that's what going to happen to us. Yet where I get so encouraged in the Bible is that God only works with failures. God only works with broken people. You think you have problems, read your Bible.

He's in the business of using the jokers and the smokers and the midnight talkers, people. He uses crazy folks. He uses broken jacked up people. You think you have issues, you think your staff is jacked up, read your Bible. These people are crazy. Noah was a drunk for goodness sake. Abraham was way too old to be used by God. Definitely too old to be having kids. That's not just crazy, it's kind of nasty. Let's be honest. Grandma! No. Isaac was a daydreamer. Jacob was a liar. Joseph was abused. Gideon was afraid. Moses had a st, st, st, st, st, st stuttering problem. Samson had long hair and he was a womanizer. Rahab was a prostitute. David was a murderer and he had an affair. Jeremiah was way too young to be used by God. Elijah was suicidal. Isaiah, this guy preached naked.

Can you imagine that the next session? Andy Stanley's coming very soon here, folks. Jonah ran from God. Naomi was a widow. Job went bankrupt. John the Baptist ate bugs. Peter denied Christ. The disciples, they fell asleep while praying. Don't act like you've never done that before. Martha worried about everything. The Samaritan woman was divorced more than once. Zacchaeus was too small. Paul was too religious. Timothy had an ulcer, and Lazarus, folks, Lazarus was dead. I'm telling you we serve a god who can use dead people if he wants to. Certainly he can use you wherever you find yourself at today. Come on, if you believe it, someone give God a shout of praise. He's in the business of using dead people. He could certainly use you.

The problem is, is that if we ever get past our past failures, right away where we moved to is we moved to, "But what if I fail in the future?" Here's what I've learned about God, that all of your God dreams are in front of you, that you actually have to run towards the thing that you're afraid of. Failure is actually fuel for your future. Here's a thought that I want you to think about right now as a culture and as a community of change makers, if you're not failing right now, you're probably not succeeding. All of our success, all of our victories are typically on top of layers and layers of failure. But so many of us we hold back and we refrain from moving forward because we just might fail. But God has called you to run towards it. I love this story here in Matthew 10, Jesus has gathered his disciples and he's equipping his disciples.

It's like catalyst conference. He's brought them all together. He's gathered them, he's teaching to them, he's equipping them, and now he's sending them out. In just a few hours, this conference is going to be over and you got to go back and actually start to create change. This is what Jesus says, Jesus says, "Hey fellas, I want you to understand something. When you go into a city and people do not receive the word, I want you to shake the dust off your feet and move forward." Essentially what Jesus is saying is, he's letting the disciples know that they're going to fail from time to time. That not everywhere you go is going to be full of victory and not everywhere you go is going to be full of success. You're going to come across some failure, but when you fail, I don't want you to quit. I want you to shake the dust off your feet and move forward.

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