Do What You Can and Not What You Can’t

Last Friday and Saturday, Charlotte and I heard author James Bryan Smith speak at the Apprentice Basic Conference. At one point on Saturday, as he discussed ministry, he said:

Do what you can and not what you can’t.

The statement was made encouraging all of us to not be preoccupied with what we are unable to do but to focus on what we are able to do. He went on to repeat the essence of the statement by saying, “Start with what you can do.”

The Failure of Self-limitation

For years I focused on what I was unprepared or unable to do. I often concluded that I was lacking in knowledge, skill, or expertise. Quite often I compared myself to others and perceived myself to be lacking.

As a result, I severely limited myself and, more importantly, gave myself a pass from some opportunities to make a difference. Finally, I realized that the problem was not my preparation but my thinking.

Start with What You Can Do.

A few years ago, I was speaking on the campus of Oklahoma Christian University. At one point, I saw my longtime friend, Dr. Evertt Huffard, sitting on the back row. Evertt is dean of Harding School of Theology and a person I greatly respect. As we were visiting later, Evertt asked me about my ministry and any plans I had to do something different. I responded by saying to him, “I wonder what I will be doing someday.” Evertt paused and then said, “Jim, think about our ages. I think someday is here.” Was that ever helpful!

Someday is here.

So here are a few suggestions for making the most of opportunities that may be before us.

1. Quit comparing yourself to others who seem more qualified and prepared.

2. Focus on how you are already prepared to serve right now.

3. Continue to learn, while you continue to serve.

4. Start now. Someday is here.


Have you ever found yourself waiting for someday? What would it take for you to begin right now?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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