It’s easy to understand that “bad” is the enemy of “good.” But have you ever considered that “good” is the enemy of “best”? Abraham thought of Ishmael as a good blessing, but God wouldn’t stop talking about Issac as the best blessing (Genesis 17:15-22; 21:1-21). Moses felt that living in Midian, being a husband and father, and tending to his father-in-law’s flocks was a good life, but God gave him instructions for his best life, which meant returning to Egypt and leading the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage (Exodus chapters 2-14). Jude had a desire to do a good thing by writing a letter to his fellow Christians on the subject of salvation, but God knew that the best letter he could write at that time dealt with the subject of contending for the Christian faith (Jude v.3-4).
I once had the misfortune of having to pull up a pump from the bottom of a well. The pump was attached to the end of a long, black, plastic line, and the only way to retrieve the pump was to take the cover lid off the well and start pulling up the line. My boss at the time, a man named Billy Pitman, graciously volunteered to help me with the job. He said, “As I pull up the line, you keep taking the excess line down through the yard to keep it out of my way.”
And so Billy began to pull and I began to walk the excess line down through the yard. He pulled and pulled and pulled and pulled. As a matter of fact, he pulled up so much line that I started running out of room in the yard to put it! Finally, when he was near total exhaustion, he said to me, “You come pull a while. I’m killed.” His face was blood red and the sweat was pouring off it. I don’t mind saying that I didn’t look forward to taking hold of that line and getting my dose of a job that had worn him out.
But since there was no getting around the fact that it was my turn, I walked over to the well, got a firm grip on the line, and gave my first pull upward. No sooner had I done that than the pump came flying up out of the top of the well. I mean, I had to stagger backward to keep my balance when the resistance vanished so suddenly. What had happened? Billy hadn’t realized that all his pulling had brought that pump right up to the very top of that well. If he had given just one more pull he would have earned the wonderful feeling that comes from the completion of a task. He had quit, though, just when he was on the precipice of success.
Bless his heart, I felt for him, but I couldn’t help but bust out laughing at the absurdity of the moment. When I did that he looked at me like he could strangle me. But then he started laughing too. It was all just too funny for him to stay mad for long. To this day, he still loves telling the story.
Now, could it be that I’m writing this to someone who is just about to settle for something “good” when God’s “best” is still available? Maybe you are like Billy, right at the brink of getting in on God’s best, but you are about to give up on the whole endeavor. Listen to me when I say, “DON’T QUIT PULLING!” If Abraham had settled for Ishmael, history would never have known the Jewish race. If Moses had settled for life in Midian, no one would remember his name, let alone revere him as the “giver of the law.” If Jude had settled for writing a nice, pleasant letter on salvation, his letter wouldn’t have been preserved as a part of God’s inspired word. You see, “good” is always the enemy of “best,” and you don’t want to make the mistake of giving up too soon. I’m not trying to sound hopelessly optimistic or naive, but the truth is that God’s “best” for you might be just one more pull from happening.