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Religion: A Pastor Ponders

Positive failures

By Pastor William Jenkins

May 31, 2007

League City News - League City Methodist Church Picture

William Thomson received the title “Lord Kelvin” from the River Kelvin that flows by the university in Glasgow, Scotland. He was one of the great scientists of his time. In the latter part of the nineteenth and the early part of the twentieth centuries he contributed to thermodynamics and the understanding of electricity. He is best known for developing the Kelvin scale for absolute temperature measurements.

He received honors from several universities and from the government for his achievements. A statue was erected to him in Glasgow. Lord Kelvin once said, “One word characterizes the most strenuous of the efforts for the advancement of science that I have made perseveringly during fifty-five years: that word is ‘failure’.” Failure was a part of his efforts but Lord Kelvin was a positive failure because he never gave up.

It is amazing how failure has played such a prominent role in the success of many people. Success is most often preceded by a long series of failures. Thomas Edison failed over 5,000 times before getting it right on the light bulb. R.H. Macy failed seven times before his New York store was a success. Basketball superstars Michael Jordan, Bob Cuosy and Bill Russell were cut from their high school teams. The Bible is a book about failures: Abraham, Moses, David, Peter. All of these failed at least once and at different things. The thrill of their stories is that they discovered the Power to succeed.

In Matthew 7:7,8 Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” The tense of the verbs suggest continuous action. Jesus is saying that in every area of life the secret to success is to persevere. It is not unusual that our first, second or third attempts at something will end in failure. Like Lord Kelvin and his kin the positive failure will always be back for another round of asking, seeking and knocking.

League City United Methodist Church is located at 1411 Main Street (FM 518), one block east of Interstate 45. For information, call the church offices at 281-332-1557 or visit the website at


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