One of my favorite devotional writers, Elizabeth George talks about the good, better, best in one of her books. I have been thinking about the concept lately and what that actually means. Because our human brains are used to putting things into good and bad categories, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that if you don’t do the best then you must be doing something bad. But wait, that means good equals bad. What?

Okay, I have to put the brakes on my brain and think this through. What does the good, better, best concept actually mean? I found some pictures that really illustrate the concept. I would like to share them and my thoughts with you.

I had taken these pictures over the course of about four years as I was rebuilding my garden area. It just so happened that I took the picture in almost the same spot. Each picture demonstrates a piece of the good, better, best idea.

To most people the picture you see below might not be considered good. However, that was the work of several months (and I was pregnant!). It was a hot summer and I wanted to start building a little seating area with a flower bed. It was good. I moved a chair out there and enjoyed looking at my roses, lilies, and chives. The old umbrella had blown in during a spring wind storm and none of the neighbors claimed it, so I rigged it up enough to give some “good” shade.

The area was good enough for a couple of years while I patiently worked on other things.

Good

A couple of summers later I was able to get back to my project. It was the summer of Covid and I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I needed to be able to work on something between all the medical appointments and surgeries. My little rest area was not perfect but it was better than before. I moved the umbrella over and extended out the bricks. I removed some shelving and part of the fence to allow more people to sit and converse.

It was better and good enough for a couple of years while we put our lives back together.

Better

This picture below was taken two years ago when my brick work was complete. The old umbrella finally reached its end in another Nevada wind storm. The shelving and work tools had been sent to another area. All my flower beds were in order.

However, I almost feel bad using this picture as best. Improvements have still been made and progress is still taking place. There is a table and chairs back there now. I have other decorations along the fence. When all the flowers are in bloom, it is one my favorite spots.

Best

The reason I show these pictures is to illustrate that the good is not bad, it just is not all it could be. There is not anything wrong with the good. It was what I could do at that time and in that situation. So when we talk about choosing the good, better, best we are not picking between good and bad, we are actually talking about continuing to strive for something.

I love this idea of continual progress! I use it often for my students at school and my child at home. Things do not have to be perfect to show progress and improvement. There is nothing wrong with the good. However, it is the striving for the best that counts in the long run.

My family has been reading about the life of David. When I read about his plans for the kingdom of Israel and his hopes of building the temple, I feel like he was using the good, better, best concept. Each year David was striving to do one more thing to make Israel a better and stronger nation. He knew it would not happen over night.

He worked for forty years to build the capital of Jerusalem, make the nation stronger, and design plans for the temple. When he died at seventy years old, he still had not physically seen the best but was striving for it until his last days. That story tells me that our job is to always be striving for the best.

Now, did David complain and whine about the good and the better? No, because he knew those were stepping stones to where he was headed. The point is not to get frustrated with the process but be grateful for each step. The problem only happens if we chose to do nothing and stop striving toward the best.

Too many people give up when they reach the good. They get tired of working and striving for the best. Is it easy? Of course it is not easy to continually strive. The word itself sounds like hard work! It was not easy to get out in my garden each summer to dig and move bricks. It was worth it in the end.

Other people run out of patience with the process. They want instantaneous results. If good is what they can get instantly, then good is where they are going to stop. As I said before, good does not equal bad. If it is what you can do at that moment, then be happy with the results. But do not continue to set in that place! Strive for the better.

In conclusion, keep striving. Stop complaining about where you are but instead do something about it. Do not give up or run out of patience with the process. It took David forty years to build his dream and he did not even see the end of it. However, he died still pushing for his dream and encouraging others to go on with the process. Keep on striving for the best!