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Day by Day - Dec. 15, 2010


by Charles R. Swindoll

Genesis 2; Colossians 3:22-25

I have just taken my Webster's Dictionary off the shelf and looked up thorough. He says it means "carried through to completion, careful about detail, complete in all respects."

That's convicting! Few indeed are the people who finish what they start—and do a complete job of it. Now I'm not referring to a neurotic fanaticism of extreme, unpractical, and unbalanced preoccupation with only the details. Not the trees-in-the-forest syndrome. I'm talking about the rare but beautiful experience of carrying out a responsibility to its completion. I'll name a few:

1. A course at school. Doing the very best you can to the peak of your performance capacity—for the sheer joy of total fulfillment.

2. A project at home. Mapping out a plan, then tackling the task with abandoned energy, dedicated to the goal of "doing the job right."

3. In occupation. The fine art of working is a lost art today—really getting in there and studying the job, reading and expanding your knowledge. Becoming an expert in your field—for the simple delight of accomplishment!

4. Everyday duties. Is there the telltale sign "unfinished" written across your housework, ladies? Is your trademark "mañana," or the cliché, "someday, I'll have to get that done"?

Why not dig right in and refuse to give up until that task is done? Why not tighten your belt a notch and wade into that unpleasant job with renewed determination to write "finished" over it?

There is a verse in Proverbs that is commonly quoted around the Swindoll house when we really finish a job like it should be done.

Desire accomplished is sweet to the soul. (Proverbs 13:19 KJV)

When you have accomplished or thoroughly fulfilled a task, there is a feeling of satisfaction that cannot be expressed in words.

Read another Proverb:

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
But the soul of the diligent is made fat. (13:4)

The sluggard longingly craves but because he is "allergic to work," he gets nothing in return! (Proverbs 20:4 makes this clear.)

So what are you waiting for? Does it need painting? Paint it—and do a thorough job! Does it need cleaning? Clean it—thoroughly! Does it need ironing? Iron it—wrinkle free, with gusto! Does it need attention? Give it thorough, unrestrained attention! Stop being satisfied with a half-hearted, incomplete job! Stun those around you with a thorough, finished product! AND STOP PUTTING IT OFF! As a music teacher of mine used to say when I'd stare in disbelief at the difficulty of a piece before me, "Attack it, boy!"

I close with a simple reminder. The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.

That's true of a delicious meal, a musical production, a play, a new automobile, a well-kept home, a church, our attire, a business, a lovely garden, a sermon, a teacher, a well-disciplined family.

Let's launch into the remainder of this week with an intense interest in quality control. Let's move out of thick ranks of the mediocre . . . and join the thin ranks of excellence. 

Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.

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