Search for the perfect

On my microblog site at randal.us, I mentioned, “That elusive search for the perfect WordPress theme is like going after the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: Just over the next rise.” In productivity books and sites, there’s an idea that the search for the perfect thing is a waste of time and energy. Go for what is good enough, they say.

Some people never find the perfect present for their loved one. Writers disappear in rabbit holes looking for the perfect word. Job hoppers can never seem to find the perfect employment.

Religion sees this phenomenon as well. Church jumpers look for the perfect place where all their needs will be served, where no conflicts or disagreeable moments ever arise, where every sermon and class leaves one walking on air.

Even saints can find themselves in search of the perfect item: the perfect Bible version, the perfect Bible school literature, the perfect hymnal, song selection, sermon series, the perfect deacon, eldership, preacher, personal worker, facilities — the search for the perfect can be endless.

Maybe such a search reflects that we ourselves aren’t what we should be and wind up projecting that dissatisfaction elsewhere.

Or maybe — and I’d rather think this — we are so ready for the perfect heavenly home that we want it now.

Certainly, we don’t want to be mediocre saints satisfied with what is good enough, what we can squeak by with, what will do in a pinch. But we do need to cut people some slack while we work harder on ourselves.

This doesn’t mean we can’t rest in the grace of God. It doesn’t mean we aren’t assured of our salvation. It does mean we exercise patience, offer forgiveness, extend tolerance to those who haven’t yet arrived at our level of maturity.

And it means also that we cease from the critical spirit of condemnation, show humility and awareness of our own shortcomings, and dig deeper into the wells of God’s strength.

It means most of all that we focus on Jesus the Lord as the perfect man who teaches us the way, leads us daily toward maturity, and promises us to come back and take us where he is.

That I’m allowed to be impatient about.


The writer shares more less-than-perfect ideas at Forthright Press.

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