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Good Enough Isn’t

A trend exists today that good enough to get by is all that’s necessary, that doing your best isn’t required. Why put out the extra work to do everything right when no one will notice anyway? And in business, just good enough will save you time and money- maybe. But doing things just good enough to get by can cost you in the long run.

I watch a lot of videos on photography to learn more about what I’m doing so that I can do a better job and make better photographs. A number of the instructors for the editing program I use say that building a mask on one section of the digital image doesn’t have to be perfect, because the viewer won’t see the difference in the final image. Well, they might, because imperfect masks to block editing applications from one section of an image do show up. A viewer who looks carefully at a photograph will see the imperfections. If that viewer is someone that has paid several hundred dollars for a photograph, he or she isn’t going to be happy when they see the imperfections. Good enough isn’t.

I was in the Army in the late 1960s through the early 70s. At that time, and probably today as well, soldiers would do a half-baked job of tasks assigned to them and declare it was “good enough for government work”. There was the right way, the wrong way, and the Army way of doing things. The Army way was just good enough to get by. But just good enough cost lives in Viet Nam.

Several decades ago in Kansas City, Missouri, a hotel balcony collapsed. Several hundred people were severely injured or killed when they fell with the balcony or when the heavy concrete pieces fell on them. A few weeks later several other structural failures in commercial buildings happened. Investigators learned that the same construction company had built all the buildings with the failures. The company’s owner used substandard materials because he thought the materials were good enough. They weren’t. They were good enough to support the balcony until a hundred or so conventioneers were on the balcony at one time, which the builder didn’t anticipate. The failures cost him several million dollars in lawsuits, and he faced criminal charges. Good enough wasn’t.

Beyond the negative consequences inherent in doing just a good enough job, a person’s reputation rests on how he or she does things. Other people see how you work and play, and they form an opinion of you from what they see you do, not what you say. A just good enough performance will get you just limited trust from others because they know you won’t do a correct job of what they want done. And, it’s insulting to others who rightly feel you don’t think enough of them to be more than a just good enough friend. They don’t count enough with you that you’ll go all out in your friendship. Good enough really isn’t good enough in any situation. Also, your job performance reflects on how customers or clients view your employer. The company’s reputation rests on how you do your job.

And personally, it’s a matter of how you see yourself and how much respect hove have for yourself. If you don’t think much of yourself neither will anyone else. You lose value to others unless you do the best you can at everything you do, and you lose value in your self-image as well. It’s a matter of honesty and personal integrity, of knowing that you do the best you can at all tasks even if your best isn’t perfect. No one’s perfect, so don’t feel bad if your best isn’t the ultimate best. Not everyone wins a medal. The Olympic Games have only one gold medal in each category, but I can assure you that each participant is doing the very best he or she can. They’re going all out in trying to win. Just good enough doesn’t exist in the Olympics.

Christians are God’s ambassadors. What others think of God and what they think of Christianity is founded on what they think of you. They see God through seeing His ambassadors. Some years back a Christian writer said a waitress in a restaurant told him that she might become a Christian if other Christians acted like he did. She was basing her opinion of Christianity on how she saw so-called Christians behave.

Jesus gave us the Great Commission to go out into the world and make disciples of everyone we can. We can’t do that by doing inferior work. Jesus told the rich young ruler to go sell all that he had and give to the poor and follow Him in order to gain eternal life (Matthew 19:16-26; Mark 10; 17-27: Luke 18:18-22). That wasn’t because being poor himself was a requirement for being saved, it was because Jesus knew that the ruler put more importance on his wealth than he did on God. Jesus tells us we must “love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength” (Matthew 12:37 with Mark 12:30). We must put God first in our lives and do the very best job we can for Him. Nothing else is good enough for God. Therefore, it isn’t good enough for Christians. It isn’t good enough for you.

It seems impossible, but Christians who do put God first in everything find that they do things they didn’t think they could do, and they have more influence with others than they thought possible. This is because if their personal best isn’t enough, God makes up the difference. A young boy was saving up for a bicycle he wanted. It was a wonderful bike, with a leather seat, chrome fenders, red and blue paint. And it had a bell! He saved for over a year. Almost all his allowance and other money he earned went into his bicycle fund. Finally, his father took him to the store to buy his bike. But the price of the bicycle with tax included was more money than the boy had, and there was just one bike left. The boy was heartbroken. His dad told his son to put in all the money he’d saved, and he would make up the difference in the price. The boy got his new bicycle.

Jesus said He is the light of the world, and that we should let our light shine out to others. That is because the light that shines out from us is Christ’s light shining out from within us. It is His light that others see in us. And, when others want what we have, that is Jesus. Just good enough wasn’t good enough for God when He created the universe, and it isn’t good enough for you as His ambassador. He requires that you do the best you can at everything you do, and if that isn’t good enough for you to do what God intends for you to do, He’ll make up the difference. He made up the difference for Moses. He made up the difference for David facing Goliath. And, He’ll make up the difference for you too. You just have to do the very best you can at everything. You’ll be amazed at what a difference God can make in your life.

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