January 15

Perfect – Quinn G. Caldwell

If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. From Matthew 19:16 – 22

I read this one book in elementary school about a hapless kid who's always making a mess of things. One day, he finds a guy that promises to make him perfect. Hilarity ensues. In the end, he discovers the perfect people spend all day sitting around drinking weak tea with the window shades drawn.

Which is just about what happens when people try to make themselves perfect.

A young man asks Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus tells them to follow the Commandments; he says he has been. Jesus tells them it's time to let God do the rest. Sell your possessions, get rid of all your stuff and all your power and all of your ability to believe you can do this on your own, he says. Trust God to do the rest. Which doesn't sound any better to the young man than it does for most of us.

Most of us want to make ourselves perfect – – which usually ends up meaning boring, tightly controlled, and disengaged. Weak-tea perfect. But Jesus isn’t offering weak-tea perfect; he's offering new-wine perfect. Burst-old-wine-skins-and-run-all-over-the-place-sustaining-everything-with-holiness perfect. Delicious, strong, brave, loud, outside, un-window shaded perfect.

Following rules will only get you so far; after that, you're going to have to let God do the rest. Which is hard, but worth it; you don't want to be the kind of perfect you could manage to achieve on your own, anyway.

PRAYER: God, help me go as far as I can, and then help me let go and let you. Amen.


God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 17.