Afraid to Fail: #17

Being Afraid to Fail is Detrimental

The fear to fail was and still is very real to me as it is to millions of people. As a child and youth, I had difficulties pleasing my parents and my teachers. Before my accident, I did not have to put myself on the line. Before that, I lived on what was provided for me, and even then I did follow those who were somewhat successful, and in charge. It was not until I wrote my doctoral dissertation that one adviser plainly told me to stop following others, regardless of their noted accomplishments, and do my own work. I did follow his advice and I found it to be much easier than I had believed. How many millions of people are there, in the world, who are afraid to invest; or for that matter, even invest in themselves? Yet, to God and to Jesus, even two copper coins of a widow drew His attention (Mark 12:42). The man who did not invest the one pound lost it all and also himself (Matthew 25:24-30).

We fail if we “Do Nothing or Do the Wrong Thing”

Regarding the negligent servant and steward, Luke the Evangelist found some additional things to Matthew. It is beyond our perception how much harm such people incur for those who faithfull fill their vessels with substance of grace and means. Jesus regarded such healthy individuals as enemies to the state, the community, the family, and enemies to themselves. Paul ordered the Thessalonians not to feed such a person (II Thessalonians 3:10). Such people, in our day, tie up our courts. In Jesus’ time, they were left to starve. However, starvation leads to some kind of actions, and most of them are destructive. It is tragic when a system feeds beggars who earn more than people who work for a living.

The parable warns of a far more serious problem lazy people cause. The earth, the country, the city, the village, and the family depend on man’s ability to recreate, reproduce, repair, restore, and endless other things survival demands. Man is God’s steward and servant charged with the management of the world (Genesis 1:2). Those who disobey that order and take part in the cycle of providing the substance, which continues to keep things running, are enemies of humanity and to God. Such people were to be stripped, even of their own property, and their property was to be given to those who were productive. Also, such selfish and greedy people were not allowed to live. Jesus tried to solve a small problem for his people, but socialists used it to make it a world problem. By replacing the people who knew how to keep their countries productive and running, they set themselves up as the world’s saviors. After constant failure of their systems, they have reversed to Pavlov’s dog. Now, by placing microchips in our bodies, they hope to make us respond to the “ringing of their bells.” The global ruler and the second beast is a copy of the first beast that appeared in the world in 666 A.D., to dissect Christian unity, and to deny the validity of the Christian Messiah. Revelation 13:16-17 is history in the making. The people who kept burying their pound, and along with those who voted for the wrong pretenders, are causing the fall of this proud nation. The world leader is already trained and prepared to take charge, and he resides in the USA.

Then another came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your pound, which I kept laid away in a napkin; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘I will condemn you out of your own mouth, you wicked servant! You knew that I was a severe man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? Why then did you not put my money into the bank, and at my coming I should have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the pound from him and give it to him who has the ten pounds.’

(And they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten pounds!’) I tell you, that to every one who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me’ (Luke 19:20-27).

Then I saw another beast which rose out of the earth; it has two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It works great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of men; and by the signs which it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast, it deceives those who dwell on earth, bidding them make an image for the beast which was wounded by the sword and yet lived; and it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast should even speak, and to cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number on its name. This calls for wisdom; let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six (Revelation 13:11-18).

Neglecting my Duty is “Self-Incriminating!”

The tendency of the “one pounder” was and still is very real. In my life, even an innocent mistake caused serious problems. My mother put a hot stove cover on the floor and I sat on, my father took a horse in payment for work he had done, which did not let anyone go behind it. I was about seven years old when I had to keep two cows and the horse from munching in the grainfield. Instead of taking the horse by the head and leading it away from the grain, I went behind the horse. And although the horse only kicked me lightly, I could not breathe. Thankfully, I did recover and I did not tell my parents what I had done. When my father discovered the horse’s manners, he did trade it off. In contrast, the “one pounder’s” mistake was deliberate. He withheld his service with full intentions because he did not trust himself to reproduce anything. That was only one third of his real reason for fear; namely, he neither had any trust in the abilities of others. The third reason was that, if the person to whom he would have given the pound to trade, should have lost it, then his master would take it from what was his own property. 

I know such feelings, for we have been through such a time. Our sons took in partners with names; however, they lacked collateral. We regarded it as our duty to put up all our savings, refinanced our home, ended in debt, and suffered and healed together from our mistakes. When my mother-in-law came to live with us, we had to move from a three-level to a one level house. This was at a time when mortgages were not available for self-employed ministers with small salaries. The price was more than we could afford. The kind seller was willing to give us a short-term loan; however, we still did not have enough to purchase the house. My mother-in-law really liked the house very much; and to help us close the sale, she willingly offered her money from the sale of her own house. By the way, in order for my mother-in-law to receive her share from her estate, we had to hire a lawyer. In May 1985, my mother-in-law moved to her daughter in Edmonton, Canada; and within six months she finished her journey here on earth. Turmoil and misunderstanding gave way for four of the offspring to immediately demand their share. Even though we had both of our houses on the market, there were no buyers; and we were unable to get any loans. Therefore, we asked them to wait until one of the homes would sell. Yet, their demand seemed unreasonable — they even threatened to take us to court. Although the law was on our side, we did not give them the opportunity. We had my wife’s mother stay with us for three and one half years. During this time, my wife’s four siblings did not offer any assistance. Fortunately, my parents came to our rescue. My parents sold their home in Canada and lent us the money to help us satisfy our heartless relatives. In the end, the law of grace does not look for renumeration, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

The one pound man did just the opposite. He refused to face the prospect of losing, of suffering, and of healing. People, like him, regard it as an imposition when someone asked them to take on some added responsibility. It was an invasion into his privacy. He had no need for an additional pound to worry about — when he may have had to make up for its loss. I also had those feelings and resented being imposed upon. Then, there came a time when I eagerly welcomed invaders into my life, and regarded them as angels from heaven; for they eased my pain, treated my wounds, and helped me heal and recover. One injury kept me in hospitals, and in recovery centers for eighteen months, without a break. Imagine how many pounds were spent on me, without hesitation. After that time, I require assistance for the rest of my life. And with these invaders into my life, I was able to develop new ways to make a living and handle a pound or two for others. I have been doing this for nearly seventy years. By law, I too have become a brother’s keeper (Genesis 4:8-11; Matthew 22:39; Luke 10:33-37).

What Did Jesus Think of People Who do Not Assist?

One of the multitude said to Jesus, “Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?” And he said to them, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. And he told them a parable, saying “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, ‘What shall Ido, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take you ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luke 12:13-21).

There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said,’Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead’ (Luke 16:19-31).

Jesus, the Son of God, has returned from the grave. Jesus has declared/verified the Law of Moses and the Prophets, which can keep the no-doers out of hell. If we do not bear the “fruit of grace,” do not count on “faith without deeds” (James 2:18-26; Philippians 2:12). Jesus says:

“Why do you call me Lord and do not what I tell you? Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid a foundation upon rock; and when the flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:46-49).

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evil doers’” (Matthew 7:21-23).