Authored by Marie Story
Something has always intrigued me about the story of Jesus’ first miracle. The second chapter of John tells the story of Jesus attending a wedding in Galilee, along with His mother and disciples. Suddenly Jesus’ mom tells Him that the wine has run out. That already is kinda odd. Jesus was a guest. It wasn’t His job to make sure there was enough wine.
Obviously, His mom was expecting a supernatural solution to the beverage problem or she wouldn’t have brought it to Jesus. But Jesus answered, “Why do you involve Me? My time has not yet come.”1
It almost seems like part of the story is missing, because suddenly Jesus is telling the servants to fill a bunch of stone jars with water. He then turns that water into wine, and the master of the banquet comments on how strange it is that such great wine is being served last.
I could never figure out why Jesus said one thing and then did the opposite a second later. Why didn’t He want to do something initially? What made Him hesitate? Was it His human nature that made Him feel that it wasn’t the perfect time for His first miracle? Did He feel that He personally wasn’t ready yet? Did He feel that there wasn’t enough to work with? The Bible doesn’t give any detail about why Jesus hesitated—it just says He protested that it wasn’t time.
I wonder if God the Father just stepped in and said, “Hey, it’s go time!” so Jesus acted, whether He felt ready or not. Maybe He didn’t feel comfortable doing His first public miracle, but God forced Him into an opportunity where He had to act, so He used what He had.
I talked a bit in a previous podcast about doing things “with all your might,” and striving for excellence. I believe that that’s a real key to success in life. If you can look to improve your skills and talents, and if you can put your whole heart into what you do, you’ll really go places.
Something that has often held me back, though, is feeling that I’m just not ready. I don’t feel ready to take on some responsibility because I don’t know enough. I don’t feel I have sufficient resources to do the job. Or I feel that perhaps more will be demanded of me than I am capable of.
Yet I’m realizing that there are times when God gives you an opportunity, and there isn’t time to wait around for yourself or for circumstances to be perfect. In fact, waiting around for a perfect set of skills and circumstances may mean that you’ll never act at all. I think that expecting perfection often holds us back. In fact, I think sometimes it tends to screw up what we’re trying to do.
I have listened to a few musicians who were technically perfect. They had studied music theory. They knew all the ins and outs of their instrument, and their rhythm was perfect. But I couldn’t find any enjoyment in listening to their music. In all their striving for perfection, they had lost the passion. In short, there was no spirit in their performance.
I have read books and articles that are grammatically perfect. Every sentence has been analyzed so that there is no room for misunderstanding. Every concept presented perfectly from every possible angle. But you know, I often put those books down halfway through. Instead of it being challenging and intriguing, I felt that everything was already figured out for me. Instead of a glimpse into the author’s soul, all I got were dry words.
I have listened to speakers who seem like they’re reading from a script. Their intonation is perfect, their appearance impeccable, their gestures and expressions right out of a public speaking textbook. But it seemed like an act because they were focusing so much of their attention on technical perfection. So their message was lost on me. Instead of personality, I saw a performance.
But I have heard imperfect music that has lifted my soul. I have read unpolished writing that fired my imagination and challenged my intellect. I have listened to speakers who were not eloquent, who used some poor grammar, but who reached my heart and motivated me to do more with my life.
At some point you have to quit looking for perfection. Quit waiting for every idea to be flawless, for everyone to agree with you, and for the planets to be aligned. At some point you have to just move and trust that God will work through you.
When Peter and John met the lame man at the temple gates, I doubt they were thinking “Hey, time to whip out our awesomely perfected miracle-working skills!” They didn’t sit down and write a speech, plan out a strategy, or double-check their Miracles 101 textbook. God had shoved them into an opportunity, and they just trusted that He would work through them.2
A wise man once said that perfection is mathematical, but inspiration is divine.3 Has God given you an idea or a dream? Has He put some inspiration in your heart? Are you acting on it? Or are you waiting around for the perfect education, the perfect time, and the perfect place to get started? Stop and think about what’s hindering you.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t keep improving your skills and talents. By all means, improve what you can, learn what you can, make solid plans, and listen to wise counsel; but don’t let imperfection hold you back.
If God has given you a dream, if He has put a spark of inspiration in your heart, then do something about it. If God’s nudging you and telling you “It’s go time!” then, by all means, GO! As you take the little, imperfect steps that you can, God will go to work for you and fill in for your lacks.
1 John 2:4 NIV.
2 Acts 3:1-8.
3 David B. Berg.
Read by Amber Larriva. Music by Simon W. Copyright © 2012 by The Family International