There are 168 hours in a week. I know a preacher who spent 120 of those hours preparing three messages for the following week. This schedule gave him no time for his family, and so his wife asked me if there was any way I could convince him to ease up on his studying.

I told the preacher that you don’t have to be perfect to preach a message to imperfect people. His study was important, but if he kept trying to make every sermon perfect, he would soon be out of the ministry because he would wear himself out. Perfectionism will do that — and worse.

If you want to lose friends in a hurry, then be a perfectionist. Make sure you dot every “I” and cross every “T,” all the time. It won’t be long before few people will want to have anything to do with you. Perfectionism will make you easily irritated at others’ mistakes. And it will make you frustrated when, at the end of the day, you come up short of your own expectations.

God’s way is better. When the Apostle Paul came to Him with his thorn in the flesh, God told him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” I don’t know if Paul was a perfectionist, but I know he considered his thorn a big problem. It stood in the way of his progress, or so he thought. When God said not to worry about it, Paul had to realize that God could still use him, even if everything wasn’t “perfect” in his life. He concluded, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

It’s far better to have the power of a perfect Savior with our imperfections than to have a “perfect” life with no spiritual power. You won’t find any positive perfectionists. Only people who accept themselves — and others — as they are will be happy. What kind of person do you want to be?

Demand perfection of yourself and you’ll seldom attain it. Fear of making a mistake is the biggest single cause of making one. Relax — pursue excellence, not perfection. — “Bud” Winter

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder