A Voice in the Wilderness - Observations and Excursions of a Christian Zealot

Terry Walker's Weblog --- Occasional articles on the Christian Ethic

Monday, May 01, 2006

The Cost of Perfection

As long as I can remember I have always wanted to do something perfect. To be the best at something, it didn’t have to be something big; it just had to be the best. I’m not an athlete; God didn’t grace me in that respect. I’m not an intellectual; my sister was given all the brains. I’m not particularly artistic, nor musically inclined, socially concerned, nor politically motivated. But God gave me an acute analytical focus. I can see and create in my mind things that do not exist. So it was with great abandon that I have used my God given talent in an ever-constant effort to design, create, and build something, just one thing; just one perfect thing.

And there it sits in the corner of my office, were it has sat since the day it was completed in 1990. I designed and built my first one in 1978 and have built 11 or more since then. In 1990 I had built the ultimate and final version, today it would cost about $10,000.00 to build one from scratch. It was designed to run on nitro methane, and travel at speeds well over a 100-mph. It could accelerate 330 feet (a ¼ scale ¼ mile, over a football field) in 3.1 seconds. It weighs a mere 12 pounds, and is the fastest, quickest remote control car in the world. My name could have appeared in the Guinness Book or in any hobby magazine. But no one knows of this achievement because when I finished building it, I couldn’t bring my self to ruin its perfection by starting the engine. So there it sits, over a decade of development, 11 years of my life, 1000’s of hours of designing and building. Over $75,000.00 worth of raw materials and tooling invested to build the world’s most exotic paperweight. But don’t get me wrong, I’m not bragging, oh no, far from it. In fact, it disgusts me just to look at it.

I wasn’t a Christian back then and I am no longer obsessed with achieving perfection. Now I am satisfied with Christ’s perfection. But the other day as I was looking at my paperweight, a few things occurred to me. The first was that most of the raw materials and tooling I had used to make all those cars came from the companies that I had worked for. And what materials and tooling they didn’t willingly give me, I stole. The second thing I noticed was that age had taken its toll. A few parts had rusted, a few dry rotted, even the paint had faded a little. It simply wasn’t perfect anymore, as if it ever was. But the most important thing I noticed was the incredible waste of my life this thing was. The writer and poet, Erma Bombeck, made a request of God from her bed as she lay dieing, she asked God to make her thin, or at least to make all her friends seem fat! Can you image the deception of thinking such a thing significant as you lay dieing and about to meet a God of all wrath?

You see that’s the problem with things, they never last, and worldly perfection cost you more than you could ever imagine. It takes your focus off of what is important and builds idols out of things that are not. But Christ offers to make us “perfect” in His eyes, through a gift he gives, and that lasts forever. You see when God builds he builds perfectly and nothing, not even time, changes that.

Dear Lord, please forgive me, help me focus on the things that do last through eternity, the very things I CAN take with me. Help me to do the things I want to do and the things I don’t, those help me to not do! Amen.

Brother Terry Walker
Providence Baptist Church
Greer, South Carolina