By Evan Koons
I overheard a story recently at Acton University (a 4-day conference from Acton Institute that offers a smorgasbord of courses, seminars, and chats about economics, philosophy and human dignity…it’s awesome and you should check it out) and I have to share it. It’s about one particular woman’s courage to live a life of creative service, and the presence of For the Life of the World and specifically Episode 3: Creative Service that helped spur her on. I share it as a reminder to LIVE OUT the truth of God’s purposes in the world. After all,
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matt. 5:14-15)
The story goes something like this: Some time ago, this woman wanted to start her own business. She got everything together–the money, the resources, her plans–and set out. While she did the best she could at the time, unfortunately the business failed. And if she was anything like me, I imagine she felt pretty horrible about it. If she was anything like me, I bet she felt like a failure. And I bet she thought others thought she was a failure, too. Of course, I could be wrong…but that’s how I would feel; that’s how I have felt when I’ve set out on entrepreneurial endeavors that haven’t worked out: like a failure.
On a related side note, this week I heard about a book called Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder by Nassim Taleb. Among the many things we can learn from chaos, Taleb deals a lot with the importance “failure” plays in growth. He writes that we need to start viewing entrepreneurs the same way we view our soldiers. Meaning: when a soldier returns from battle or dies in battle, he or she is a hero. In the same way, whether an entrepreneur is successful in their business or fails at their business, he or she is a hero, too. To paraphrase Taleb, an entrepreneur’s failure is a sacrifice that can strengthen a system, an economy (a particular area of life), a movement, a cause. When an entrepreneur fails, they must not be shunned or shamed or viewed as failures; they must be honored and encouraged for their tenacity, their courage, their sacrifice, and their gift to the world. Remember this from John 12:24,
But, back to the story of the woman who’s name I don’t even know. After closing up shop on her dream, she went back to her former life, a J-O-B just like the one she left. And there she stayed…until her church group started watching FLOW. After watching the series, and particularly Creative Service, the woman began to feel something new life inside her. Not only was she beginning to understand her work as a massively collaborative endeavor, she was inspired to revisit her own dreams of starting a business. She enrolled in a class, sought counsel from trusted friends and professionals, she prayed.
I was proud to hear that today this woman has started her business again. She’s pursuing the calling God placed in her. She’s on a journey of faithfulness, fruitfulness, and abundance. Praise be to God.
Is FLOW solely responsible for this? Not at all. Not any more responsible than that beautiful woman’s own desires and giftings, her courage, and discipline, her failures, her friends and mentors, her church. After all, creative service IS a mighty collaboration of God’s gifts and creative spirit woven through all things. But it is really awesome that FLOW could be a part of that mighty collaboration for her.
So, if you haven’t seen For the Life of the World, yet–if you’re struggling with living out your faith in a broken world–if you’re wondering what your Salvation is actually FOR in every area of your life, we’d love to be one of the voices that guides you and helps you see how God is bringing all things to himself (you and your work included). I’m a bit biased, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Talk to your church or small group about us.
Originally published at the FLOW blog