THE WORD: An unreached goal in this life 

“The Denial of Saint Peter” (circa 1610) is a painting by Caravaggio which is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. (Public Domain).  

“She has done what she could.” Mark 14:8

No one can do all that he knows he ought to do, or that he wants to do. Yet when we have done our duty, faithfully and earnestly, according to the light and the wisdom given to us — we should not regret afterwards if it appears that we might have done things with more wisdom or with greater skill.  

We cannot get the benefits of experience, until we have already gone through the experience. We cannot have an elder’s ripe wisdom, in the days of our youth. We are able to see when a day is done, how we might have lived it better. We should bring to every hour’s work — our finest skill, our best wisdom, our purest strength — and then feel no regret, even if it does not seem well done. Perfection is always an unreached goal in this life. Duty is always too large for us. We can never do more than a portion of it.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect — but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23 


J.R. Miller was a pastor and former editorial superintendent of the Presbyterian Board of Publication from 1880 to 1911. His works are now in the public domain.