Doing Things Badly

Anything worth doing is worth doing badly

G.K. Chesterton

It’s safe to say that we all have dreams. What would you do if you knew that you could not fail? Where would you go if you knew you would never get lost? If you are like me, I bet you are dreaming big right now. I would travel the world and take Whitney every place she’s ever dreamed. I would work to start a movement of young men who could preach with such passion, clarity and truth that our churches would never be the same. But, those kind of things don’t happen…do they?

I have had a desire to change the way men at Southern Seminary preach. For the most part, few of my fellow students understand that homiletics is as much an art and science as Koine Greek or Biblical Hebrew. That’s a shame. Until I began to take preaching seriously I preached really bad sermons. But, I came across two quotes that changed my thinking, my practice and my fear.

The first is from the late John Stott. He said that the agony of preaching is that you must forget 90% of what you know. Ouch. For seminarians, this is unthinkable. But, your congregations will thank you for it. The second is from G.K. Chesterton. He said, “anything worth doing is worth doing badly”. Did you catch that? He said, “badly”.

Most of us carry big dreams with us everyday. We think about them during our commutes and when we lay in bed at night. But, we talk ourselves out of them before we even try. We’re convinced that every duck needs to be in its row before we can move forward on anything. If we believe that, then we’ll never do anything worth doing. We’ll live lives of “quiet desperation”. Every idea must start somewhere.

Take a look at the first PC or the first car. They’re nothing like they are today. But, they had to start somewhere. Ford started with only one car. One hundred years later, their F-150 is a best-selling pickup truck. That didn’t materialize out of thin air. It’s been a century in the making. The Apple II would get you laughed out of every office building and trade show today. But, now any kid with a MacBook Pro can produce films that rival even the best film companies. All it took was a dream and a willingness to start doing things badly. Excellence will come in time.

I’m stepping out. It’s terrifying. Every day I face down the demons of despair who echo the same refrain: “this will fail”. But, that’s the beauty of it all. If it all fails, my identity is in securely in place in Jesus. So bring on failure! Let’s all commit to doing those things we dream about. Let’s see what God will do when we live in the security of his promises. Our endeavors may not pan out the way we dream, but in Christ we will never be failures.

So, dream big and do things badly!

Posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Culture, Theology, Uncategorized

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