Hi, this is Pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…The Enemy of Greatness.
Several years ago, I read the book Good to Great. The Author, James Collins wrote that work to help guide the pathway for good companies to become great companies. In it, he noted several characteristics that good companies exhibited, and when those attributes were traded for a differing one, that change could propelled that good company into becoming a great company. He was able to define several specific adjustments that were common to many if not all of the good companies that became great companies. In his book he pointed out that the one common characteristic that always held companies back from greatness was being a ‘good’ company. A pervasive attitude found anywhere within an organization that some strategy, practice or product was ‘good enough’ always kept that company from becoming great. This discovery became the general theme of the entire book.
Collins wrote; “Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”
It’s true…Good is indeed the enemy of great. And unfortunately, as people we all too often settle for good enough. I too have been guilty of saying “good enough is good enough” on occasion. There have been times when I have even counseled others to be ok with good enough. However, if good enough keeps us from achieving greatness, then there is reason “good enough” (pardon the pun) not to allow that to happen.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to come home from a vacation and describe it as only having been ‘good enough’. I don’t want to be forced to ride with someone whose driving is only ‘good enough’. Those things matter, but what about these? Should we settle for a love for our families that can only be rated as ‘good enough’? Is it ok with us if we have marriages that are only able to garner a score of ‘good enough’? Is it satisfactory to say we are ‘good enough’ at being followers of Christ? Should we be satisfied with a prayer life that is ‘good enough’? How about having a ‘good enough’ handle on what God’s word says? Is it ok if we are ‘good enough’ at listening to the persuasions of the Holy Spirit? What would our plight be if Jesus, after being born as a baby in a manger, grew up, had His ministry, but when faced with death on a cross said, I don’t think I’ll go that far, what I have done already will have to be ‘good enough’. I’ll tell you where we would be…lost eternally.
So how do we avoid letting good be the enemy of great in our lives? After all, aren’t we all merely human beings? Don’t we have a propensity toward failure? Yes we are, and yes we do. So what to do? Stop living your life and you’ll stop failing to be great. Notice I did not suggest that you stop living, I suggested that we stop living our lives and instead let Christ live through us. We can try to be like Him, but our human condition dictates we will not meet with complete success…we will not be great at it. If we could, we would not need Him, we would already be…’good enough’. Our Bibles tell us that all have fallen short of the Glory of God.
Galatians 2:20 in the New King James Version offers the answer to just such a quandary. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. We don’t need to figure out how to act great, speak great or look great to be great. Instead, we can recognize that when we choose to abide in Christ and let Him live through us, we decrease while He increases. We move from good to great. If we let Him love through us, we will be great at loving others. If we let Him serve through us, we will be great at serving. If we let Him feed the hungry, heal the sick and mend the broken hearted through us, we will become great at doing those things. If I want to be a great dad, all I have to do is let Christ love and care for my children through me. If I want to be a great husband, All I have to do is let Him use me as a conduit to deliver His great love for my wife to her. If I want to be a great counselor all I have to do is share only the wisdom He points to in His word through the prompting of His Holy Spirit inside of me. If I want to be a great pastor, all I have to do is allow Him to serve and love others using my life. The scripture above essentially says that if I no longer look at my life as mine but rather as His…I can do all of these things, not just ‘good enough’, but in a great way!
In and of ourselves we aren’t really even ‘good enough’, never mind great, but when we choose to allow our great God to live through us, we begin to resemble the greatness of Him. We are not here to reflect the world around us, that wouldn’t even be ‘good enough’ when it comes to fulfilling our purpose, we were created to reflect our great creator. Each week I end my podcasts by encouraging you to “Go be awesome!” I say that because though in the flesh we don’t even measure up to ‘good enough’ when we are born of the Spirit, live by the urging of the Spirit and rely solely on the empowerment of Christ living inside of us…the result is not ‘good enough’ it is great…it is awesome!
So now, understanding that all things…even greatness…are possible through Christ strengthening you…Go be Awesome!