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Fear May Lead to Failure

Fear of failure often leads to failure.

I once got daring enough on a motorcycle to jump a ten-foot hill. I made two or three jumps, each a little faster and farther. My last approach was the fastest yet. It would have been my longest, highest jump – if I hadn't lost my nerve, let off the gas at the last second, and did a nose-dive.

Fortunately, I only did a handstand on the handlebars and didn’t go all the way over. Fortunately, I kept the bike upright. Even more fortunately, no one got a picture! It was a powerful reminder that fear of failure often leads to failure.

Jesus promises us similar success in spiritual matters. He guarantees that we can soar high. But not if we are too afraid to try.

He told a parable - of three men, each entrusted with shares of their master’s estate. The first invested his five shares and doubled them. The second doubled his two shares. The last, so afraid that he’d blow it, took his one share and did everything possible to make sure he didn’t lose it.

But, then he did.

Because he avoided risk but produced nothing, the master took away his one share and gave it to the one who dared to double his five. Notice what Jesus said to the fearful one, the one who thought he was playing it safe. “You should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned, I would have received it back with interest” (Matthew 25:27).

He easily could have succeeded. In fact, all three men, everyone in the parable, had opportunity to succeed. What led to the fearful man’s failure was his fear of failing.

That may be true for us, too. Fearing that we won’t be able to stick with it, we hesitate to fully commit to our beliefs. Afraid of higher expectations, we avoid involvement or leadership roles at church. “I’ll just be sort of an observer and let others take the lead,” we may think. “That way, I won’t be embarrassed.”

We are afraid that we’ll be like Peter. While the others sat safely in the boat, Peter rashly jumped out – and sank.

But don’t overlook Peter’s pre-sinking success. For a brief shining moment, Peter did what no other mere mortal had ever done. He . . . walked . . . on . . . water! Only when his fear surpassed his faith did he sink.

It’s often the fear of failure that leads to failure.


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