…Well…how do you complete the phrase? Nearly every time I have heard those three words they are followed by something like this…“is worth doing well!” And I think we all get the message intended—“Don’t give a half-hearted effort to the tasks you undertake.” Surely we all see the wisdom of that and can agree with it!
Several years ago now, I heard a preacher finish the above phrase in a way that definitely got my attention. I didn’t agree with him at all…at least, not at first. Here’s what he said: “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly!” How does that grab you? But think with me about it for a moment.
In my years in the church, I have often heard us respond, when asked to consider doing something we have never tried before, like teaching a class, preaching a lesson, or leading a song or prayer, “I can’t do that!” And what we often mean is not that we can’t talk about a subject matter to someone else, or that we literally can’t sing or pray…no, we mean that we do not believe we are good enough at the thing under consideration to give it a try. (I am not now considering the fear of being in front of a group.) When we see someone else do a task well, we measure ourselves by them and end up preferring not to try at all. We aren’t good enough in our eyes. And we have been taught the idea that anything worth doing is worth doing well. So we would rather have someone else who does it better (we think), just go ahead and do it!
But our logic is faulty! Remember the first time you attempted riding a bicycle? I was struck by how easy it appeared to be. I was also motivated by the fact that kids younger than I could do it. So I tried. It was not pretty. I wrecked more than once and even rode into a parked car. But I wanted to be able to do it, so I had to be willing to do it poorly. That is called learning. Did you ever try to play piano? I took lessons for a while. Why? you ask! Because I had heard others play the piano, and I thought it was marvelous. But when I tried, it was horrible! In most of life’s worthy endeavors, one cannot start out as an expert. We must be beginners, at first! How do we get better? We keep trying…keep failing…keep taking risks…keep being embarrassed… until, one day, our progress amazes even us. Then, “Look out world, here I come!”
In our service to King Jesus, let’s be willing to try anything He points us towards…even if we don’t feel it is our strong suit! Let’s try even if we do it poorly at first. Do you remember the Christian who said to another, “I really don’t think much of the way you teach non-Christians the gospel?” To which the reply came, “I don’t think much of it either. How do you teach others?” The first speaker said, “Uh, I really don’t teach others at all.” And the reply was, “Guess I’ll keep on the way I do it rather than the way you don’t!” Point taken.
Christian family, we must be willing to try things for Jesus that we wouldn’t try for anyone else, even if we do poorly at first. He deserves it!