Enhancing On-going Ministry Through Equipping, Encouraging, and Interceding

The Pressure of Perfection

Many years ago, I was sitting in Missions class listening to one of my favorite professors, Dr. Cal Guy, lecturing a group of want-a-be-pastors-and-missionaries on the pressure of perfection in ministry. He said something I’ve never forgotten. I didn’t write it into my notes and it wasn’t on a test, but I remember the exact statement. Dr. Guy said, “Released from the necessity of being perfect, you are now free to be good.” Later I would discover he was paraphrasing a line from the end of a book entitled, “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck. One character, Lee, says “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” The Apostle Paul, who surely was as near perfection as anyone other than Jesus, admitted that he had not reached perfection, but rather pressed on toward it (Philippians 3:12). Remembering this quote from my own Seminary student days, also led me to wonder what my former students and persons to whom I’ve preached and served over the years, remember from my comments – not ideas, but direct quotes or at least paraphrases. I guess it’s one of the things old professors/ministers do – sit around and wonder if anyone remembers what they tried to teach/preach. Since I remembered, let me pass it on to my readers – be released from the pressure of perfection. Be good today.

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