How To Avoid Being A Failure
* This teaching is a foundational study from The Bible Tells Me So published by The American Christian Press in 1973.
The simplicity of the Word of God, the Bible, is astounding. Most of us have too much complicated theology and not enough simple believing. We are encased in so many negatives that even the positives are shrouded in darkness. We make God too difficult. Nobody wants to be a failure. God wants no failures - then, why be one? You don't have to be, if you don't want to. This is the exact meaning of this study.
Remember the story of the woman who lost one of the ten pieces of silver. Diligently she searched until she found it. After she came upon it, she called in all the neighbors and had a celebration because having lost a little piece of silver worth a few cents in United States currency, she finally found it. All the neighbors rejoiced with her. Can you imagine a little town in your section of the country getting excited over a few cents - let alone all the neighbors becoming so animated about it!
How did this woman avoid being a failure?
Luke 15: 8-10:
Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. -- Luke 15: 8-10
There are three interesting stories in the fifteenth chapter of Luke and all three deal with the same major subject. The first pertains to a shepherd having one hundred sheep, only ninety-nine of which were safe and sound. The third story is the one most people have erroneously called, "The Story of the Prodigal Son," more appropriately, "The Story of the Forgiving Father." The second is a story of a woman who avoided being a failure because she found one little piece of silver. You may laugh but it is true - her husband would have put her out of the house had she not found the lost piece of silver. Thus she would have been a failure as far as the whole town, including men and women, was concerned.
The pieces of silver are not merely ten ordinary pieces of money or ten coins with little significance; they are the most precious gift the bride receives from her bridegroom at the time of their marriage.
Each piece of silver is approximately the size of an American quarter. On one side of the piece of silver is engraved the insignia by which that particular family is known. If the family crest happened to be a sheep, well fed, protected and safe, that picture would be engraved on one side of all ten pieces of silver. On the other side would be stamped the year in which the piece of silver was made.
The husband gives this special dowry to his wife during their betrothal. As for dollars and cents, it isn't worth much, but the sentimental value is priceless. Money is no replacement for the lost piece of silver.
Both now and during the lifetime of Jesus, women in the Orient often receive lavish gifts of jewelry at the time of marriage. All the jewelry a woman receives becomes her own property and possession with the exception of the ten pieces of silver. She has all the legal rights to all her jewelry; the husband has none. He cannot take her jewelry away under any circumstances, with one exception - the one jewel called "the ten pieces of silver." This jewel, in the event of the husband's death, must be handed back immediately to the husband's side of the family.
The jewel called the ten pieces of silver is worn by the wife only on very special occasions. Because of her love for her husband, she may put them on while her husband is away at work and gaze at herself in a mirror, appreciative of her husband's gift and love. Because they are so precious to her, she seldom wears them for fear of losing one. The twenty-fifth or fiftieth wedding anniversary would call for their wearing. Nothing less than the most special occasion.
When the wife does wear the ten pieces of silver jewelry, she wears five pieces of silver on one side of her head, towards the front of the head, and the other five pieces on the other side of her head. Each piece of silver has a little hook at the top. With these hooks the wife fastens the pieces of silver in her hair. Thus, you can understand how easily one piece, or a number of them, might become unhooked and, without her noticing it, she could lose them.
If she loses any of the pieces of silver, she will be put out of the house by her husband. The husband will not divorce her or be angry with her because of this, but simply expels the wife for she has disgraced him and his house and has brought reproach upon his family. The husband disposes of his spouse not because of the monetary value of the ten pieces of silver, but because losing one of the pieces of silver means the withdrawal of God's favor from the family. The loss of a piece of silver is looked upon as a curse on the whole family. Neither the husband nor the parents have spitefulness for her; but the wife will receive no sympathy from her husband, his parents or her other in-laws. A million dollars, given by the wife's family to the husband, would not rectify matters.
When the wife loses a piece of silver, the whole town is concerned about her for they know the consequences of being dishonored and expelled. The women of the entire city know what she must endure. Therefore, when the wife finds the lost piece of silver and knows that it is safe and secure, she calls in all her neighbors to rejoice with her over the piece of silver which she has found. She avoided being a failure.
We too can avoid being a failure by putting first things first.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall he added unto you. -- Matthew 6: 33
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10: 9
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10: 10
Seek anything else first and all things will be subtracted from you.
We are God's most precious creation. He wants no failures and He makes no failures. His will for us is success in everything.
I can do all things through Christ which [who] strengtheneth me. Philippians 4: 13
[Literal Translation according to usage]: I am ready for everything and equal to anything through him who infuses inner strength into me.
The first step in this ladder of success is for a sinner to repent. Repentance is for unsaved sinners; confession is for saved sinners. God's love, the Father's heart, so yearns for the lost one that the Church will spend itself unreservedly, leaving nothing undone in order to find the one precious lost jewel. Who is that "jewel"? Each one of us is if we have not accepted Him.
You say, "What must I do?" The Father says, "Repent." How do you repent? Repentance is doing the will of God. It is not crying your eyes out, singing hymns or running to an altar. All these may or may not be involved, yet they are not repentance. Repentance is to do what God says; and He says in Romans 10: 9, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt he saved." Repentance on your part is to confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.
It is to believe in your heart, your innermost being, that God has raised Jesus from the dead, that Jesus is resurrected and alive, yes, living for you and in you. That is repentance. It brings joy, not only to the angels in heaven, but also to the Father's heart for a most precious lost jewel has been found; one more life has avoided failure.
But you say, "Can I still do this? Can I rise up beyond all failure? Can I be sure?" Yes, you can be as sure as God Himself. For He stands behind His Word; He backs up His Word; He sees to it that His Word is performed.
In Him you are complete. You are a son of God; a joint-heir with Christ Jesus. You have resources unlimited. With Him you cannot fail, only succeed. Without Him, you cannot succeed, only fail. His invitation is to you, for it is to all, "Come unto me ... and I will give you rest.... Lo, I am with you always .... " " ... I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Come! Avoid being a failure!
* * *
You are the one to now decide
Whether to believe Him or toss Him aside.
You are the one to make up
Whether to accept Him or linger behind.
Take Him or leave Him, which will you do,
Believing is assurance of no failure for you.