Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

Archive for the tag “effort”


“A job isn’t worth doing unless it’s done right the first time.” It was something like this that my grandmother embedded into us when we spent the summers with her. We “earned our keep,” so to speak. We had a list of chores to do each day. We memorized Bible verses at meal times, we were expected to treat each other with kindness and respect, and she set the bar high. We had to make our beds each morning…perfectly. We had to do the dishes…completely and thoroughly. We had to clean out the toy closets and ball closets…spotlessly. We had to sweep the garage…immaculately. She wasn’t being mean, or harsh, or a taskmaster. She just expected us to pitch in. She wanted us to learn the value of hard work. She wanted us to learn to do a job right…the first time. It’s a waste of time to do a job half-assed, then do it repeatedly until it’s done right, done well, and with care and excellence.

This is what my grandmother taught me. I didn’t care much for those lessons at the time. Matter of fact, I kinda thought it was a crock. Since when do kids go to their grandmother’s house to work? It’s supposed to be all about fun. And, truthfully, we had a lot of fun with her…after the work was done. She loved to play games…after the chores were complete. Part of her mission, I think, was to teach us grandkids to do a job right the first time around. And it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

I ran across a passage this week that made me think of this very thing. Some people brought a man to Jesus who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to heal him. Jesus took him aside, put His fingers in the man’s ears, and some of His spit on the man’s tongue. (Yes, this sounds disgusting!) Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Be opened!” In an instant, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue loosened, and he began to speak clearly. It was gross, crazy, strange, and miraculous all at the same time.

The people who witnessed this were absolutely blown away. And do you know what their response was? Here’s what they said about Jesus… “He has done everything well…” What they were indicating about Jesus was, “He does everything beautifully, commendably, and with excellence. Jesus does admirable things that are honorable, surpassing good and noble.”

He didn’t just do some things well. He did all things well. He didn’t choose to half-ass a few things now and then. He chose to do the job right (and with excellence) the first time. The Message Translation of Mark 7:37 records it this way, “He’s done it all and done it well.”

I wonder if Jesus grew up with a grandmother like mine?

Or maybe He just knew that it made perfect sense to do everything well. That doing things half-assed is a waste of time. Maybe He sensed that excellence and honor was the way God intended it to be. Maybe He figured out that if you’re gonna do a job, do it right the first time. Because in the end, this is the way, the effort, the attitude, and the character that pleases God…and my grandmother.




If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Would it be something external—your hair color, eye color, height, weight, shape of your nose or ears, or size of your feet? Or would it be something internal—have more courage, less fear, more intelligent, more patient, less serious all the time, or maybe a more positive outlook?

Let me ask you another question: In social situations, are you the “impresser” or the “impressed”? In other words, do you frequently go around trying to impress the people you’re with? Or by the time you leave, do you walk away more impressed by those you interacted with?

If you’re the “impresser,” what qualities or characteristics about yourself are you trying to impress others with—your physique, impressive travel history, intellect, success at work, thoughtfulness, listing the number of famous people you’ve met, etc.?

And if you’re the “impressed,” what was it that captivated you most about these people—their good looks, fancy car, leadership ability, attention to what you were saying, sensitivity toward others, wisdom, expensive clothes?

There’s a story in the Old Testament in which God told Samuel to go “evaluate” the sons of Jesse in order to select the next king. The first son he saw was Eliab. Samuel must have been impressed with how he looked or how he carried himself, because he thought, “Surely, this is the Lord’s anointed.” Interestingly enough, however, God’s immediate response to Samuel was, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

What was God impressed with—the externals or the internals?

The Apostle Peter reaffirms what we already know to be the answer to this question: “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God” (1 Peter 3:3-4, NLT).

Allow me to ask you a couple more questions. How much time and effort (and money) do you spend on your “externals”—your hair and makeup, landscaping your yard, shopping for the perfect outfit or shoes, working out, etc.? And how much time and effort (and money) do you spend on your “internals”—praying, reading God’s Word, listening intently to those in need, sacrificing your time for others, etc.?

“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him…” 2 Chronicles 16:9. God is searching for folks who are fully devoted to Him. Not only that, He’s standing by, ready to strengthen and fully support them.

If God is “impressed” with a gentle and quiet spirit, and in looking at the heart, He is searching for people who are fully devoted to Him, then I have a long way to go. No, that’s not very impressive, but then again the fact that the God of the Universe loves me, chose me, called me, redeemed me, and created me for a purpose is very impressive indeed!

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: