Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems Chapter 20 – That Will Do!

Serial Reading of Young People’s Problems

Chapter 20 – That Will Do!

Recently I heard a comment in a news talk show discussion about the use and legalization of cannabis—that casual use is not all that harmful, that most people are able to function quite well even with regular use. At that moment I thought to myself, “When did just functioning become an accepted social norm? Who has ever excelled at something by merely sleepwalking through it? Have we finally become addicted to mediocrity?”

J.R. Miller has hit upon one of the greatest dangers young people face—the mindset of mediocrity and the expression, “That will do.” We must face this treacherous thought-pattern head-on, at eye level with our covenant youth. Miller writes this—and his words are convicting:

“Someone says that the sentence, “That will do!” has done more harm than any other sentence in the English language! It indicates the acceptance of a standard below the highest — a person has done something which is not his best. He recognizes the fact; but he is too indolent to do it over again, or he is impatient to get the matter off his hands, and decides to let it go as it is. “That will do,” is a confession of unworthiness in what is done, and of indolence in the person who does it. He knows he could do better — but decides to let it pass.”

A dictionary study would certainly enhance a dinner-table discussion of the word indolent and lend a devotion-time aid toward our understanding of this baneful motto, “That will do!” As Pastor Miller points out, a much better maxim would be, “The good — is the enemy of the best.” He quotes our Master on this point: “He who thus seeks to save himself — loses himself.” And Miller adds, “Youth should scorn self-indulgence in every form…courting hardship — rather than ease.”

I reference again Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, where he explains the coining of the phrase “desirable difficulties.” This fascinating premise of his research chronicles that a disproportionate number of successful individuals achieve their success through overcoming severe trials, difficulties, and obstacles in their lives. From a similar perspective Miller notes, “It is a great thing to have a lofty ideal and to live up to it.” Michelangelo said, “Nothing makes the soul so pure, so pious, as the endeavor to create something perfect; for God is perfect, and whoever strives for perfection, strives for something Godlike.” “The blessing is in the striving. Not failure — but low aim, is [the] crime.

Character Advocates, here is a TEAM2work opportunity. From this quotation we have an excellent and practical example to unfold and translate at eye level. What did our Lord mean by, “Be holy, for I am holy” (I Pet. 1:16)? Pastor Miller shows that “though we [may] fail to reach our ideal, the effort to reach it does us good…It proves our faithfulness… [and] lifts us step by step toward the ever-unattained excellence…We do not think enough of this effect on our character. Carelessness in our daily duties hinders our growth and sanctification.

The attitude of “That will do!” is an unworthy foundation that threatens and ultimately brings down all that is built upon it. “Never should any young person permit his work, his words, his life, any of his habits — to be ruled by a motto so unworthy, so debasing in its influence.”

Find the full text on Grace Gems at: http://gracegems.org/Miller/young_peoples_problems.htm

Chapter 21 – A High Sense of Honor

(to be continued)

— Joe LoGiudice, Principal