Breakfast on the Beach

  • Friday, April 23, 2010

  • "The dads are thinking w's and l's. The kids are thinking grape or strawberry!" One of my favorite billboards reminding us that it is the parents and not the children who often need to be reminded to keep things in perspective.

    The competitive drive of men often pushes them ( over the line of sensibility where we quickly lose sight of the things that really matter. We have to win! To lose is to fail, and if we are going to lose, rather than go down giving it our best effort, we would often chose not to even start the game. To lose is to fail.

    "Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, 'Children, do you have any fish?' They answered Him, 'No.'" John 21:4-5

    Ouch! How embarrassing was THAT?!? They were pros. This lake was their home. The nets bore their grimy fingerprints and the oars of the boat were worn smooth from their leathery palms. They were pros with years of experience using equipment which was almost an extension of their very bodies. And they floated on the calm surface of a most familiar sea. They knew the "hot-spots" where schools of fish could easily be drawn to the surface by the flickering glow of their lantern on the water. And they had done their diligence. They had fished all night! "Do you have any fish?"

    No one welcomes failure. In fact, the "shame" of not succeeding at an endeavor is one of the most painful experiences the male ego must endure. To lose is to fail. Or is it? In my early working days (definitely not my career!) I was employed in a factory as an inventory specialist (warehouse grunt with a fork-lift, actually) and as a plant overseer (night supervisor loved to sneak off to parties and just left this kid in charge of things). I had the master key ring and full access to all the facilities. I was enamored by the trappings of success. When all the lines were running well and all the workers had their necessary supplies, I would wander down to the company garage where its owner kept his two Ferrari's and his wife's Austin-Martin. Sitting in those glove-leather seats, I would imagine what it must be like to rocket down the highway at illegal speeds. This was, to a young college student, the ultimate reward for success!

    But the man who owned and drove the cars I coveted had not always been a "winner." In fact, before the rewards of his present profitability, he had gone bankrupt...three times! Long before he was a "winner" he was a three-time "loser." However, rather than remain defeated, he admitted his failures and discovered the courage to press on.

    To lose is not ALWAYS to fail. If we did not fail, we would make no progress. Failure forces us to assess where we might have gone wrong and to make necessary corrections as we move forward. It is in failure that we find the opportunity to face our weaknesses, our inadequacies, our faulty assumptions and make corrections. It is in failure that we find motivation to seek the help we need.

    In the boat of seven exhausted and discouraged fishermen was one major "failure." Following several helpings of "humble pie," Peter now had to admit that he had been "stiffed" in the only arena where he truly was a professional!

    "Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, 'Children, do you have any fish?' They answered Him, 'No.'" John 21:4-5

    In admitting our failures we are able to come face to face with the weaknesses and inadequacies that lie within. And by His grace, we then can discover God's strength being perfected in our weakness. To lose is to fail. But the first step to discovering new success is the courage to admit that we have failed!

    "Do you have any fish?" "No."

    One writer penned it this way, "Christianity, from Golgatha onwards, has been the sanctification of failure."


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