Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Done is better than good.

This was my mantra all through the first two years of seminary. I repeated it with great faithfulness, especially toward the end of the semester when papers and deadlines started to pile up. Done is better than good. Did I believe it? Absolutely not. I am an insatiable perfectionist. I think pretty highly of myself, which leads to having pretty high standards for my work. Done is better than good was my mantra, but it was not one I followed with any regularity.

Then I went on internship. And Lent happened. And people took vacations. And suddenly I was preaching twice a week, teaching a lot of adult ed, behind on visits, daunted by seminary paperwork. Suddenly I was very, very busy. And done seemed like an impossibility, good was even further off.

“This isn’t fair,” I told my supervisor frustratedly one afternoon. “The congregation deserves better than I can give them. This isn’t my best work, I just don’t have the time.” My supervisor looked at me, calmly.

“Sometimes finishing is accomplishment enough.”

The thing about done as opposed to good is done allows space for the Holy Spirit to work. If I stand in the pulpit and finish an acceptable sermon on a Sunday morning, it has more chance to hit someone’s heart than if I preach the first half of an amazing sermon, and never get to the part about grace. Done acknowledges that I am not perfect. That I am a sinner in need of God’s grace, that I am not up to the task set before me, that I need God’s help to get me through. Done keeps who is human and who is God in perspective. Done can be pretty amazing.

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