Saturday, July 12, 2014

Putting Failure In Perspective

My wife recently mentioned an article to me that she read about Paul Williams. Some of the older folks might remember him as the short little blond guy in “Smokey and The Bandit.” He is also the author of a lot of memorable songs such as “Old Fashioned Love Song, Rainy Days and Mondays,” and “We’ve Only Just Begun.” Now in his seventies, Williams was reminiscing about a 1974 movie he wrote the music for and starred in called “Phantom of The Paradise,” a rock and roll version of “The Phantom of The Opera.” Although nominated for an Oscar, the film was a box office flop in the U.S. and has since been relegated to “cult” film status…only true aficionados remember it. Williams says he chalked that one up as a career failure at the time.
Sometime later, while appearing at a concert in Mexico, Williams was approached by a teenage boy who had a copy of the movie soundtrack and asked him to autograph it. Williams had a short conversation with the teen and recalls signing the album but little else of the encounter.
It is now forty years since Williams did what he considered a flop. Imagine his surprise when he was asked to help write a musical based on a critically acclaimed movie directed by the same teen who grew up to be director Guillermo del Toro. Williams says he also has been working with other song writers and singers on other projects as a direct result of that “failure” of forty years ago.
Be careful what you consider to be your failures. Just because you don’t see immediate results from your efforts doesn’t mean something wasn’t a success. Forty years down the road what you did could turn out to be one of your greatest achievements. Some people refer to this as the “Butterfly Effect.” Something as insignificant as a butterfly flapping its wings can conceivably snowball into a hurricane given just the right sequence of events. Del Toro’s encounter with Paul Williams is one of the small events that eventually inspired him go on to become a world famous movie director.
What’s the spiritual point of all this? Don’t think that what you do for the Lord has no consequence. Even the smallest of efforts can produce monumental results given enough time. Remember what Jesus said about faith the size of a mustard seed. Don’t let what you consider to be failures in the present cause you to give up on things in the future. Get out there and do something for God, because you may inspire someone else to do even greater things.

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