- Ever studied for a test with the goal of just passing, not caring if you got an “A” or a “C?”
- Ever gotten tired of a project, so you did the bare minimum to wrap it up and get it off your plate?
- Ever settled in a relationship or job that was far from ideal because you were tired and willing to take who or what was in front of you?
Meh, this’ll do.
Maybe that’s fine if you’re making toast or buying socks, but when it comes to the bigger decisions—especially those with a long-range or domino effect on other areas of life—the last thing we need to do is just settle.
This week marks the anniversary of a bridge that exemplifies the importance of not settling. On November 7, 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed—only four months after it was completed.
This should not have been a surprise to anyone, After all, the bridge would move vertically even during construction. The construction workers were calling it “Galloping Gertie” before it was ever finished, but construction never halted.
The day of the collapse brought 40 mile-an-hour winds. Obviously a bridge that swayed in any wind would raise a fuss if the wind got up to 40 miles an hour, and it raised a fuss right into the water.
A government agency investigated the cause of the collapse and came to this brilliant, scientific conclusion: the bridge collapsed because of “excessive flexibility.” Duh. They concluded two things:
- The engineers did not give due diligence in planning how to build such a long suspension bridge.
- The wrong type of support girders were used.
Where was the commitment to doing it right—and ensuring they were doing it right?
- The research we’ve done? It’ll do.
- The girders we have? Meh, they’ll do.
As a follower of Christ, I refuse to settle. I seek to please Him in whatever I do, and that means I refuse to settle.
- Through my ministry at LifeWay, I am continually developing Bible studies. After I’ve created a series of study outlines, I go over them again. And then again. Providing tools for people to study God’s Word keeps me from settling with a mediocre Bible study.
- I regularly preach, and I start early—two weeks early. I want to ensure my study is thorough, I have exegeted the text correctly, and I have crafted a sermon that stays focused on Christ and does not chase rabbits. For the duration of that sermon, I am speaking for and representing Christ. A “this’ll do” attitude that settles for an inferior message will not do.
- I recently wrote about some furniture I am building. One of the pieces—a dresser— is 98 percent complete, but on the day this blog posts, i am taking a two-day vacation to scrap that dresser and start over. Why? I’m going to live with this dresser for years to come, and I will not settle for mediocrity.
Scripture has much to say about giving our best to any project:
- “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Prov. 10:4).
- “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Prov. 22:5).
- “In everything set them an example by doing what is good” (Titus 2:7).
I have a greater motivation: I want to give my best to honor and please the One who gave His best for me.
“Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31).
You and I are not building bridges; we’re building lives. Let’s do it with excellence.