“The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’ “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest. “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.” Matthew 25:24-30 The Message
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston S. Churchill
Have I failed? Oh how I’ve failed! Let me count them!
Failed marriages. Yep. Check
Fired. Yep. Check.
Made a fool of myself in front of others. Yes, again. Check. Many times without being drunk or incapacitated. No props to blame.
Quit high school. Yep. Check. Did eventually get my diploma.
Bankruptcy. No, but very close. Hungry but never homeless. However, the places I’ve lived would scare you.
Ran away from home. Still have a propensity to run away from difficult people and situations.
You get the drift, but one of the most heartbreaking failures was a devotional I wrote for dementia caregivers. I prayed. Bought a computer and tablet. I sought editing and formating. Lessons. Small ad with an article in a Christian magazine. You Tube video. Paid a few thousand. Used my husband’s last photo as the cover. Just a hundred or so copies sold. My heart and soul were put into the effort to help dementia caregivers hang onto their faith with hope while navigating the treacherous and exhausting dementia journey. I wasn’t the servant that buried the money. I was the servant that blew it all! And then some!
Or, was it a failure? Let’s check expectations, shall we? Did I think it would be a best seller? No. No one would seek a dementia devotional until they’re smack-dab living in it. Not a popular subject. Not movie-worthy. Was I glory-seeking? No. The pain and and agony were too great and I relived it writing the devotional. Amateurish? Probably. We’re all amateurs a something! No shame in that. None.
Then I received an email from a wife who was caregiving her love with a terminal brain tumor. “I could breathe,” she said when she read the devotional. They were in their 40’s. My husband was 66 years when he died From Lewy Body Dementia. There were more responses that said I helped them.
Then I wrote an article for a Christian publication about dementia caregiving. No payment of any kind. It helped others. Just a few. Did I bury it?
I cried over this perceived failure. I tried hard to help. Honestly, I was hoping to break even. I’m not flush with cash. However, my little devotional helped others to carry on with hope. They may share the book with others whose hope is crushed by the dementia journey, maybe even after I’m with God in Paradise.
Did I help one person? Yes. Jesus leaves the 99 to find the lost sheep. Did I focus on God and easing pain? Yes. Have my needs been met although I spent much to accomplish the devotional? Yes. Did I bury it in the ground? No.
I have my answer. It brought me even closer to God. This was not a failure. Humbling, perhaps, but not a failure. How about you?
Thank you for the opportunities to help others as a big part of your plan. We don’t have to be the servant who buried his talent with fear, blame and excuses. We are partners with you and your word will not return unfulfilled no matter how we stumble and make mistakes. Thank you for this honor. Help us to invest confidently in those that are thirsty. Those that are hungry. Those that are afraid. Those that are sick. Those that are poor in spirit. Those that are grieving.