Axioms. They are widely accepted statements, or perhaps even self-evident truths. They are principles assumed to be true that help to shape a system or perhaps even a culture. They are proverbs that guide our decisions and describe who we are… This last week, Calvary’s staff leadership spent some time identifying some of the axiom’s that we embrace, axiom’s that shape who we are striving to become. For the next few days I’m going to list some of those axioms, not in order of importance.
Axiom #1: Persistence makes failure a growth experience.
In other words, sometimes we are too quick to give up and too afraid of failure. At Calvary we value persistence and we value the risk of faith…that will at times require persistence through failure. One of my favorite axioms is found in Proverbs 24:16, “Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” Righteousness is not defined as never failing, but as never quitting.
Some of our most teachable moments come in the presence of trial and error. The founder of IBM Thomas Watson said: “The way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” Or as Thomas Edison said “There is only one good idea in 100 so I want to discover the 99 failures as quick as possible.”
Every 9 sales calls will only bear 1 sale. Roughly 60% of all basketball shots made don’t go in. Only 25% of all batters make it to first base. In an oil company, only 10% of oil wells drilled hit oil. For actors, only 1 out of 30 auditions turns up in something that is of value. Two out of 5 investments are winners.
One of the greatest mistake we can make is to to believe that if we just knew WHAT God wanted us to do, the doing would be easy. I can’t tell you how often I’ve seen this happen. Somebody senses a call from God to do something, they accept the assignment and then it gets difficult. The task hits a wall. It takes longer than you ever dreamed it would take. The forces against the task seems so great…and you begin to think… maybe I got it wrong. Maybe this isn’t what God wants me to do…because God is all-powerful, if I figure out WHAT God wants me to do, surely the doing will be easy.
But that mindset is not Biblical. God values persistence because it leads to character and hope. Persistence requires difficulty and even failure. So the question is… Am I willing to follow God’s calling, even if I have to walk through years of difficulty and even failure to follow?
- – Am I willing to take a step on the water, even if I’m going to sink?
- – Am I willing to be his missionary even if it means I’m going to get thrown in jail?
- – Am I willing to pray for someone’s healing, even if no healing comes?
- – Am I willing to step out in faith, even if I stumble and fall?
I will be if I desire to grow. Persistence makes failure a growth experience.