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Simply the Good

Every morning when I drop Ryan off at school I tell him, “Give your very best today.” Ryan almost mimics me when I say it. At every soccer practice and game, I tell the kids I coach that what’s really important is that they give their very best. That if they give their best, then they
have nothing to be disappointed in. At the conclusion of every Children’s Ministry team meeting, I always remind those in our area that it’s important that we give our best at every task we have to do.

It’s really something that’s important to me. I don’t want to be viewed as someone who does something half-way, or as someone who needs motivation to get on with a project. Then this weekend I heard this quote,

“Don’t let your BEST be the enemy of your GOOD.”

My brain begin to churn, and it hit me. When my best is limited, I just don’t do anything. When I’ve planned to run 4 miles, but sunlight gets away from me, and life gets busy I just don’t run at all. Instead what I should do is get off my butt and go do 1 mile. When things get out of my control at work and above my pay grade; I tend to just throw in the towel. Instead I need to grasp that while my best might not be happening, I can still do something good.

All this thinking led me to the parable of the talents, when Jesus tells the story of the master who entrust three men with different amounts of money. Two of the men return a profit on the money, but one buries it in the ground and returns exactly what he was given. The master calls the man that made no profit evil and wicked, and gives his money to the man who turned his 5 talents into 10. But what about the man that was given 2 and turned it into 4? I love it that Jesus was saying that doing nothing is the unacceptable response to our opportunities.

I guess the challenge is in discovering why the best can’t be done. If it’s because of factors outside of my control, then let’s make things good. If it’s because of a lack of intelligence on my part, then I need to fix that so that the best can happen.

The kindergarten areas at our church really need to be in at least 3 different areas, 50 five-year olds in one space is too much. However 3 different areas don’t exist, and they will NOT exist anytime soon. But instead of settling for defeat I need to do the good thing. Maybe I could find one additional classroom space, or maybe I can change the teaching format. While it might not be perfect and the best thing to do, it can still be good. I’m starting to process all the things that I’ve laid off to the side because they couldn’t be done perfect, and I’m beginning to see that making things GOOD could be a step towards making things the BEST.

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Gonzo! · October 2, 2008

    Great read.

  2. Cash Clan Japan · October 2, 2008

    This is really good stuff. I have the tendency to be an all or nothing person, and this is challenging!