January 12, 2020 - #4713 Music & the Spoken Word

The Music & the Spoken Word broadcast airs live via TV, radio, and internet stream on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. mountain time. For information on other airtimes, visit “Airing Schedules” at


Conductors: Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy
Organist: Richard Elliott
Narrator: Lloyd Newell

“Let All the World in Every Corner Sing”
Music: Ryan Murphy
Lyrics: George Herbert

“The King of Love My Shepherd Is”
Music: Ryan Murphy
Lyrics: Henry W. Baker

“Sinfonia to Cantata XXIX” Organ solo
Music: Johann Sebastian Bach
Arrangement: Robert Hebbel

“All Things Bright and Beautiful”1
Music: English melody
Lytics: Cecil Frances Alexander
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“What a Wonderful World”
Music and lyrics: George David Weiss and Bob Thiele
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“How Firm a Foundation” 1,2
Music: Attributed to J. Ellis
Lyrics: Attributed to Robert Keen
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

1 On the CD Then Sings My Soul.
2 On the CD Called to Serve and in the CD set The Missionary Collection.

The Spoken Word

Failure and Success

Many decades ago, author and clergyman Henry van Dyke wrote a classic tale about a wise man named Artaban from the mountains of Persia. He said of Artaban, “All through his life he was trying to do the best that he could. It was not perfect. But there are some kinds of failure that are better than success.” 1

It’s a comforting thought because all of us have failures. Life is full of them. Our efforts often fall short of perfection, so we naturally hope that some good can come from the not-so-good moments in our lives. But is it really possible that some of our failures can actually be better than success?

Think about your own life. Have you ever failed to arrive on time because you stopped to listen to a loved one who needed you? Maybe you failed to check everything off your to-do list one day because you noticed someone else was struggling, and you offered to help. Or maybe your “failure” led you to a better approach, a path to success that otherwise would have remained hidden. Valuing failure is about understanding what truly matters.

One woman came to appreciate her so-called “failures” because she learned so much from them. She learned to listen and to appreciate others; she learned in a deeper way about courage, perseverance, and patience. She learned empathy and compassion. And perhaps most important, she learned that even when she failed, she was not a failure. Failure is an event, not a person, and without her “failures,” she would not be the person she is today.

A constant stream of so-called “successes” may have made her a different person. It may be that her compassion could have been replaced with intolerance, her humility with arrogance, her inner strength with a fragile sense of self-worth. She has come to understand that those failures have shaped her life for the better.

The only people who never fail are the people who never try. But if we can learn to see failure differently, then even as we do our best to succeed, we won’t fear our failures, because they can be our greatest teachers and opportunities for success.

The Story of the Other Wise Man (1923), xiii.