Close Enough

Close enough

Our home in Ohio had a big bay window in the front room. Finding curtains for that thing was a challenge because it required a long curved curtain rod, which was expensive. So I busted out my creative energy and gently bent straight curtain rods to fit the curve. It worked perfectly and was much less expensive.

I hated taking those curtains down to wash them because it required two people and it was a time consuming process. But once a year, down they came and were washed and dried, and my dear hubby (who made fun of me for having to stand on a stool when he could just reach up) helped me rehang them. Then I had to readjust the tie-backs and the tops so that it all was nice and neatly balanced. Because I need balance.

But as I worked on getting those curtains perfectly spaced I remembered one of my favorite phrases, “Close enough.” I learned it from my dad, who was a carpenter. He once told me that there are many things in carpentry that do require perfection, but there are some things for which “close enough” works well. I’ve discovered that this phrase is appropriate for other aspects of life, too. Like, folding fitted sheets.

Once upon a camp-time, I chose the word “excellence” as the yearly theme for the year-round staff. We challenged each other to strive for excellence in everything we did, including how we lived our faith. The verse for that theme was, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.

One day during our weekly Bible study, we had a discussion about perfection versus excellence. Excellence means setting a high standard for yourself in everything you do and working towards doing the best that you can. Perfection means being free from flaw or defect. Excellence is the process by which one may achieve perfection. Perfection is often unachievable, daunting, often frustrating, and can cause someone to not even begin a task. Why would Jesus say that we have to be perfect LIKE GOD?! Is that not IMPOSSIBLE?

Look at that verse in context. Jesus was talking about loving your enemies. Be perfect in love. The Greek word for perfect means “brought to its end, finished; wanting nothing necessary to completeness.” Love like the Father. Love like the Son. Love through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Paul’s often-left-off-introduction to the “love chapter” (1 Corinthians 13), is this: “And yet I will show you the most excellent way” 1 Corinthians 12:31b. The Greek word for excellent means “a throwing beyond.”

No, I cannot achieve perfection in love on my own. “Close enough” doesn’t work in loving others. But by striving for excellence in all things (1 Corinthians 13:7), I have set my feet on the path of the Father’s already complete and finished perfection. The only way to achieve perfection in loving others, especially those who may be my enemies, is by submitting to the power of the Holy Spirit. In doing so, I have already tapped into the finished and complete, perfect, self-giving love of the Father.

“Close enough” isn’t enough when we submit to Jesus Christ;

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:34-30

I’m praying for you.

Pastor Deb