Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | August 13, 2015

August 13, 2015 “The ‘I Can’t Do This’ Attitude”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Good Morning Everyone!

When I was a small boy, I recall being easily frustrated if there was some task or puzzle or situation I had engaged in that was not easily and readily accomplished. I liked being able to do things, get them done, and move on to something else. This was true even the books I selected to read. I preferred short stories to novels. The writings of O. Henry appealed more to me, for example, than those of Mark Twain. They were easier to read and much shorter.

If I discovered that something could not be done quickly, I was tempted to abandon that particular undertaking and move on to a different activity. This became somewhat more problematical if it were something I was told to do and not something I had undertaken of my own volition. At such times, my father would “motivate” me. Some of his motivational techniques were not so pleasant, but strangely effective! I don’t really care to recall or even relate those particular methods to you. Let’s just say they were “deserved” and leave it at that!  There was one, however, which I have actually treasured. From time to time, he would wax poetic, reciting a verse from a poem by Edger Guest called “It Couldn’t Be Done.” I can still hear him as he would smile and say,

“Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
      But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
      Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it!”
   The “I can’t do this” attitude is not reserved for children. I have known many adults, myself included, who have nurtured such an attitude regarding some difficulty. When I start feeling that way about a situation, I remember this little poem and this verse from Philippians: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Paul did not say “I can do almost everything through Christ who strengthens me.”  He did not say, “I can do any reasonable thing through Christ who strengthens me.”  He said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Was Paul immediately successful in everything he did? No, but that did not prevent him from pressing on until success came, and when it did, he gave God the glory.
   We all know that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. But did you also know it took him over a year and 1400 different attempts to succeed? A French reporter asked him how he felt after failing 1400 times before finally succeeding in this endeavor. Edison smiled and said “I didn’t fail 1400 times. I simply discovered 1400 ways not to invent the light bulb.” Think about it. He wasn’t the only inventor out there trying to accomplish what he accomplished. But through keeping at it, each unsuccessful attempt gave him knowledge other inventors did not possess. He learned what would not work!  Fear of failure often keeps us from realizing greater achievements. Former pastor Robert Schuller once asked the question, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” Most of our dreams and aspirations would be greatly enhanced were we to nurture such an attitude. The impact personally and socially would be immeasurable. We all benefit from big dreamers who have seen things through.  There is another verse to that poem by Edger Guest that I have discovered that goes like this:
“There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
      The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
      Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.”
   When you are tempted to give up on some worthy endeavor because it seems too difficult, don’t listen to the voices of the thousands who would tell you that you’re bound for failure. Don’t listen to the whispers of the Enemy, the “Father of Lies”,whose agenda is to see to it that you fail. Instead, remember the words of Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Let’s pray!
Mighty Lord; With You, nothing is impossible. You are the author of our dreams, and through You, those dreams are transformed into realities. I thank You, Lord, for every dream, every possibility, every difficult undertaking, for through them all, You are present. I praise You, Lord, in this new day You have given me, making my prayer in Jesus’ Blessed Name! Amen!




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