“My mother always taught me never to look back in regret, but to move on to the next thing. The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me. I have fun running all the Virgin businesses–so a setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.” – Richard Branson
One of the most well-known stories in the Bible is the first encounter between Jesus and Peter. Peter and his friends had fished all night, but they had caught nothing. The next day, Peter was washing his nets, probably tired and discouraged. Jesus comes along and tells him that He would like to use his boat as a platform from which to speak. So Peter allows Jesus to use his boat. After Jesus finishes he tells Peter, “Let us go fishing.” Peter reacted and said, “Master,” …“we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” Peter went fishing and caught so many fish that he was astonished.
This story teaches us about failure and success. On their first fishing trip, their work netted them nothing. On the second trip, they caught so many fish their nets began to tear. It was the same lake, the same boat, the same nets, and the same people fishing.
So what made the difference? Jesus was in the boat the second time.The second time, Peter was not going it alone. Jesus made all the difference. When the fishermen saw what Jesus had done, they were amazed. Luke 5:8 tells us: “When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.”
“For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” (Luke 5:9-10)
If you’re reading this today and feel as Peter did, then you need to remember that It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or how far you’ve wandered or how many failures you have experienced along the way. God is always actively pursuing us to bring us back to Himself. I want you to know that He will break every possible barrier to reach you. Today, you can meet with Jesus, bring Him your failures and mistakes, and allow Him to work in your life. With Jesus in your boat, the fear of failure and worry about the results fades away.
Peter and the other disciples had a lot to learn, and there would be failures, but from this point on they followed Him.
- Discussion Questions:
1. What emotions might Peter have felt in that moment when he pulled up the nets with so many fish? Have you had a moment like this in your life?
2. A failure is an opportunity to grow. Agree or disagree and why?
3. What can we do this week to prevent our failures from defining us?