Immense potential lurks within each of us waiting to be used for the glory of God and the good of others. Unfortunately, much of this vast reservoir of talent and energy remains unused because of the fear of failure. Perhaps you’re one of these reluctant ones.

Opportunity keeps knocking but you’re afraid to open the door. Highly talented people make you feel inferior so you retreat from meaningful service to your church and community. You’d like to get involved but are afraid to take the risk.

Consider a few others who might have been overcome by the fear of failure had they listened to their critics and surrendered to their doubts.

Einstein couldn’t speak until he was four years old and didn’t read until he was seven.

Beethoven’s music teacher said of him: “As a composer he’s hopeless.”

Thomas Edison’s teacher said he was unable to learn.

Walt Disney was once fired by a newspaper editor because he was thought to be without ideas.

Caruso was told by one music teacher: “You can’t sing. You have no voice at all.”

An editor said Louisa Mae Alcott, who wrote “Little Women,” would never be able to write anything that would have popular appeal.

Dwight L. Moody, now considered one of the most effective evangelists of all time, had but a fifth-grade education and once wept before an audience, saying “God forgive a man who cannot properly speak the English language.”

The disciples of Jesus were without impressive credentials, being called ignorant and unlearned, but their contemporaries found it impossible to ignore them because their lives demonstrated they had found something others needed. Their dedication, courage and faith made them world-changers. (Acts 17:6)

God seems to enjoy using weak but willing people to do great things to the amazement of those who are thought to be better qualified. The following title of a book I noticed in a pastor’s library once caught my eye and lingers in my memory: “Why God Uses Nobodies.” Though I’ve never read the book, its challenging title keeps encouraging me to attempt things I might have thought too difficult for me to do.

I once asked a farmer if he would like to preach a sermon in the church where I was the pastor. He surprised me by his quick acceptance of my offer, saying, “I’ve promised the Lord that I would accept every opportunity for service that he sends to me.” That attitude and commitment finally led him from his farm to South America where he served as a missionary for many years.

Have you been afraid to get involved?

Do you feel incapable of accomplishing anything important?

Reject those negative thoughts. You’re a candidate for greatness. Others need what you have to offer. Don’t waste your life sitting on the sidelines. Get into the game.

Start where you are and see what adventures open to you.

Join the club of the weak but willing whose members have refused to be counted out and are now remembered as people who made a difference.

Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. An anthology containing over one hundred of his best columns, “Everywhere You Go There’s a Zacchaeus Up a Tree,” is now available at your local or online bookseller. Contact us at


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