Things I Don't Want to Do

"Unless you do what you do not want to do, you will never have what you want to have. "

No great person I know of said that; I made it up. I do think it’s true, though. Much of the secret of success, it seems, lies in the ability to do unattractive, undesirable tasks to ultimately accomplish what we want to achieve.


Let’s test that at school. “I don’t want to do this; it’s not fun,” my students often said. Well, that wasn’t a great revelation. I hated to break the news to them, but teaching grammar to restless, reluctant seventh graders wasn’t always a party for me either. Sleeping in would have been more fun for us all, but that wouldn’t have gotten us where we wanted to go. They wanted to graduate, and I wanted to see them become productive adults who could talk without making others cringe. That meant some work that maybe none of us really wanted to do.

How about at work? Ever have any assignments that you really don’t want to do? (Is that why you’re reading this now instead of working?) But, if you want to keep your job and enjoy the benefits that come from being employed, you do what you don’t particularly want to do.

It’s true in family life, too. Who enjoys changing a dirty diaper? Or unstopping a nasty, overflowing toilet? Yet, to keep your house and your kids clean, you do what has to be done. And, to keep a marriage healthy and alive, you have to put up with some things that may be less than perfect and do some things that may not be your first choice (shopping instead of golf – now that’s a sacrifice!).

In every area, (yes, church, too!) God calls us to forget what we want – to die to self, to put him and others first. Doing what we don’t want to do is the crux of getting what we ultimately want in life. Jesus modeled that on the cross. He prayed, “O Father, if you please, relieve me of this agony. But let your wish, rather than mine, be carried out” (Luke 22:42, Cotton Patch Version). To please his father and to offer us forgiveness, he did what he did not want to do.

To follow him, and to find what we want to have, let’s do what we don’t want to do.

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