I usually head back the place of my birth at least once or twice per year. It’s only a four or five-hour drive, so when I have an occasional free weekend, I try to head in that direction. The last several times I went, I stayed at the home of some longtime friends.
The last time I trekked to those northlands, I noticed a plaque on one of their walls. The first few times I passed by it, I didn’t give it a second glance. Then, all of a sudden, it seemed to jump out at me. As I recall, the wording went something like this:
Some want; Some wish; Others make it happen…
When it finally grabbed me, I stopped dead in my tracks and read it over two or three times. As I let it sink in, it dawned on me that the friends in whose home I was visiting were of the third variety. Ever since I’ve known them, they have been people who make it happen—or, at least, try.
Cause Me to Pause
That characteristic is one I recognized in them long before I saw the plaque on their wall. I’ve always admired that quality which is evident in their lives. What their plaque did for me was cause me to pause and ask myself where I stood.
Do I simply want things or wistfully wish for them? Or do I—as do my friends—make things happen? As I stood before that plaque and read it again, it became a sobering thought residing deep in my soul. After that, I didn’t pass that sign again without reading it and allowing it to sink ever more deeply into my psyche.
As I consider my options in life, it seems to me that simply wanting or wishing for something important is not viable. Being someone who makes it happen is the only way that makes sense for me. On the other hand—and it’s a big hand—attempting to make something happen makes you vulnerable.
Whatever “It” Is
If you’re out to make it happen—whatever “it” is—your attempt will necessarily cause you to take risks. Either you’re risking your reputation, your riches, or your relationships (among other possibilities). One of the largest risks is the risk of failure. I detest failure.
There have been many things I’ve refused to attempt over the years because I was afraid to fail. The plaque on my friends’ wall reminded me of that. It also caused me to think about the fact that the most successful people are usually ones who have failed many times prior to their biggest successes. Investments—whether of time, money, or energy—are ripe for failure.
It’s recorded in Scripture that Jesus once told a young, rich man to invest in heavenly things. His admonition included a guarantee that those kinds of investments “never fail.” We should definitely invest in sure things such as God’s Kingdom. Making it happen in conjunction with God’s will is a no-miss proposition. Try it!
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]