They say (you know… the mysterious “they”… whoever “they” are) that perfect is the enemy of good. In other words, the burdensome drive to achieve perfection can prevent us from completing a task or project adequately well.
In many cases (though certainly not all), doing a good job is all that is required of us, and is also absolutely acceptable because the completion of the task is more important than its quality. For example, if your daughter is running late for school and her hair is a mess, it makes more sense to pull it into a half-decent ponytail than to take the time to meticulously french-braid it. If your boss needs the minutes of the last board meeting on his desk now, you may not want to choose that particular moment to make sure all the bullet points are perfectly lined up and that you aren’t missing any commas.
I won’t belabour this point, however, because I want to share a thought that may seem to contradict everything I just said.
One of my 2018 goals is to follow a year-long Bible-reading plan that will take me through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice. So, last week, I was right at the beginning, in Genesis, when something occurred to me. The first two chapters describe creation. For five days, God call His handiwork “good” but, when He created man and breathed life into him through his nostrils, He called it “very good.”
What made the difference?
Was it because humans are vastly superior to everything else God made? If so, we can hardly take any credit for any special abilities or characteristics we possess. But I believe it goes deeper than our mere physical form and function. The key distinction in the way God made Adam and Eve was this: He breathed life into them. He gave them not only bodies, but souls. Like God, in whose image we were created, we are spiritual beings.
I can’t help but see this as a model for us to follow in whatever we do: our jobs, our ministries, our hobbies, our relationships. When we breathe God into the things we create and produce–when we do what we do with love and humility and generosity–we raise them from the level of “good” to “very good.” (Notice that God did not call His creation of man “perfect” but “very good.” Only He is perfect.)
The Bible gives us some clues on how to do this:
Colossians 3:17 and 22 – “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. . . Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
1 Peter 4:11 – “If anyone speaks, he should speak as one conveying the words of God. If anyone serves, he should serve with the strength God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.”
1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
In conclusion, my advice, as obvious as it may be, is this: Perfect may be the enemy of good, but very good is much better than good. As you approach your projects and goals this year, invite God to be a participant, breathing His life into all you do. I believe the results will be very good!
Have a blessed week!