BY REV. DR. PHILIP CRAIG
Greater Springfield Community Church
Scripture: Matthew 7:7
If you live long enough, you will eventually experience failure, rejection or disappointment in some area of your life as you move closer to a greater destiny. Rejection can feel genuinely devastating. But before you retreat, give up or drop your determination, know that some of the world’s most successful people have failed and, in many cases, more than once.
The thing that separates a winner from a loser is determination. When you drop your drive to succeed or stop being determined to overcome, you have labeled yourself a loser. Only losers give up. Winners may experience failed attempts, but they never give up. When the scripture speaks of asking, seeking and knocking, it doesn’t mean every time you seek, knock and ask that it automatically appears. What the scripture tells you is not to become discouraged when things don’t happen when you expect them to, but rather keep asking, keep knocking and keep seeking until it happens.
In other words, don’t stop dreaming, don’t drop your determination and keep focused on moving forward, rather than looking backward. You will be surprised by the many great leaders and successful people who experienced failure, but kept seeking, asking and knocking and found phenomenal results.
For example: Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star since his editor felt that he “lacked Imagination and had no good ideas.” He went on to several more failed business attempts before he made Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs—and then later became the king of animation. Today, Oprah Winfrey is worth more than $3 billion, according to Forbes magazine. However, Oprah wasn’t always the Queen of television talk. Before she became famous, she was fired from her television job as an anchor in Baltimore for getting “too emotionally invested in her stories.”
Then, there is R.H. Macy, who had a series of failed retail ventures, but he didn’t stop—and with his determination, at the age of 36, Macy launched R.H. Macy & Co., which grew to become Macy’s, one of the largest department store chains in the world. Another example is a man named Colonel Harland Sanders, who was fired from dozens of jobs.
But that didn’t stop him. Colonel Sanders traveled across the United States, looking for someone to sell his fried chicken. And after finally getting a business deal in Utah, Kentucky Fried Chicken was born. KFC is now one of the most recognizable franchises in the world with more than 18,000 locations.
There are many others who would not have succeeded if they had not been determined and could have allowed their dreams to die in the sea of forgetfulness. It is important to follow your dreams and go with what God has given you, regardless of what others might say or think. Take Thomas Edison, whose teacher told him that he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He went on to produce more than 1,000 patents, including the phonograph, electrical lamp and a movie camera.
You need to surround yourself with people who believe in you and have faith in you and the things God that has placed inside of you. When doors are closed on you, don’t look at it as a lost opportunity, but rather as a plan from God to create a new opportunity. When I look back and see the doors that have been shut in my face, I see the grace and goodness of God, who knew what was better for me than I even knew myself.
The rapper Jay-Z can relate to this. He couldn’t land a record deal anywhere for his first album. It was those closed doors that enabled his determination to jump into overdrive and forced him to become an entrepreneur and sell his CD out of the back of his car. He is now $550 million richer due to his determination to succeed. God has your back.
Be determined to succeed!