Thursday, October 16, 2008

Choosing the 12 (Part 6) – Failure

Read Mk 3.13-19, Lk 6.12-16

And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach,
(Mark 3:14)

Jesus appointed 12 fallible men as Apostles

Jesus appointed men whom He knew would fail Him. Judas is the most obvious example but the 11 also failed, not only during the hours surrounding the crucifixion, but in the months and years that led to the cross. They tried to stop crucial ministry from happening (Mk 9.38-39, Mt 19.13-14), they lacked faith and the prayer life to perform certain types of ministry (Mt 17.14-21), they failed to understand and apply Jesus’ teaching (Mt 15.16, Mk 8.17). Ultimately, their failure would manifest itself in abandonment and betrayal. They failed and yet Jesus chose them in spite of their failures which He knew before hand (Jn 6.64; 17.12, Mt 26.31, Lk 22.31-32) . Failure was an option under Jesus’ leadership.

We don’t need divine insight in order to know that people will fail. It is in our DNA. And we don’t have to go any further than the mirror to prove it. This is a huge part of discipleship. First, we must expect and accept failure. It is a reality and how we respond to a disciple’s failure will often determine how effective the mentoring relationship will be in the future. Both truth and grace must be administered in these situations. Secondly, where there is no room for failure there is no room for self discovery (which by the way is 100 times more valuable than our preaching). People need room to try and fail. But if we control every situation or leave no room to fail, the disciple may fail to try. When we leave room for failure, we leave room for initiative and creativity. As a discipler, I expect failure. This is especially true of young laborers and leaders. Third, I can’t let failure go unnoticed. Although I expect failure, I have the responsibility to both correct and encourage proper actions. I am a safe place to express failure but I am also part of the solution for their success in the future. Finally, I am not the prefect Son of God. I am failing right along with the younger disciple. When I express these failures it does not undermine the relationship, it actually strengthens it. I need to have integrity in ministry and express my strengths as well weaknesses. When I fail to express my failure I potentially discourage the young follower of Jesus and put on the same mask worn by the Pharisees. Failure is an Option.

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