Last night, my son got his first skateboard. He wanted a “penny board”. On the way to the store, he told me a lot about skateboards, skaters, and skating. I watched him in the rear view mirror on the way home and then to the skatepark. He held that board with anticipation and eagerness…with joy!
When we arrived, apprehension set in. There were a couple other older skaters. They were good. There were a couple his age, also pretty good. He walked around for a moment just holding it. He looked like a skater! My son set his board down, placed his foot where he had rehearsed 1,000 times in his mind, and fell down. He was shocked he wasn’t instantly good. He looked at me, I encouraged him, and he tried again. After a few minutes of trying and falling, he decided to try the medium-sized ramp. I cautioned him to try the small one (about a foot tall) first. Being his father’s son, he set out for the bigger one. Again, he fell.
He sheepishly walked his skateboard over to me, slumped in defeat, and mumbled something about quitting. I didn’t get mad, I didn’t agree with him, I didn’t lecture him. I put my arm around him and said, “A righteous man falls seven times, but gets back up (Proverbs 24:16)”. What a teaching moment about not giving up on anything…ANYTHING!
I’d like to say that lesson was for him, but it was for me.
“I knew it would be tough, but he had to walk through it. I knew he’d fall, even if it never crossed his mind. I knew he’d want to give up, and I’d need to encourage him. I knew he’d get back up, even when he wanted to quit. I saw the potential in him when he couldn’t. I never stopped praying for him.” Those are the words of those who discipled me in ministry.
I watched my son try again, ask for his helmet and pads, and look for my encouragement. Whatever you do today, keep trying. Failure is refusing to try again. There will be bumps and bruises, so be prepared for them. Surround yourself with others who won’t let you quit. Galatians 6:9.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.