I subscribe to a Christian History website that tells me each day what happened of significance in Christian history on that date. Yesterday, the 5th of February was the day in 1736 when John Wesley landed in what was then the British colony of Georgia.

Wesley had gone to Georgia to be a missionary to the native Americans and a pastor to the colonists. It was a disaster almost from start to finish. The colonists resisted his ministry, the natives were unresponsive, and worst of all he had a failed relationship with a young woman. When this young woman married another man, Wesley vindictively told her he would refuse her communion.

The woman and her husband hit back and sued Wesley and a warrant for his arrest was issued.  Wesley fled back to the UK as a wanted man. An abject failure as a missionary, and a pastor and not exactly covering himself in glory as a Christian either.

Yet most people today when they think about John Wesley don’t think of him as a failure, scuttling back to England as a wanted man due to his own vindictive behaviour. Wesley is mostly remembered as the founder of the great discipleship movement known as Methodism which spread around the world and has spawned countless offshoots. Today tens of millions of Christians look back to Wesley as a spiritual mentor, not a spiritual failure.

I think Wesley’s failure in Georgia is more than an interesting bit of Christian history, I believe it has an important lesson for us.

 Failure is never final with God.

God gave Wesley a second chance, just as He did with so many we meet in the Bible like Moses, David, and Peter to name but a few.

And you and me.

When we realise our failures, turn back to God and open ourselves to the Holy Spirit God can do significant things in us and through us. Failure can often open the door more effective ministry.

If failure was final with God, I would not be a pastor today.

When I see failure in my ministry, when I feel I have let myself and the Lord down I reflect on Wesley’s time and Georgia and how failure is never final with God.

So should you.

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