From time to time, I hear an advertisement on the radio for a foundation repair company and they say, “Don’t do it twice. Do it right.” What they’re talking about are home foundations that get repaired but not up to the standards they should be, and sometimes they have to be redone. The company is advertising to bring the job to them first and do it right rather than do it twice. After hearing the ad several different times, I thought, “What a great slogan.” Don’t do it twice. Do it right. That’s a great advertising line, but it’s also a great way to live.
Too many times we learn from our mistakes and sometimes we can’t correct the mistakes we make by not learning from the mistakes. Have you ever noticed that you may not have time to do something right but you always find time to do it over to get it right? Here’s the problem: If you don’t get it right in life the first time, you may not have an opportunity to do it twice or three times.
Walk with me through some of those kinds of events. Some things you can’t do over because you only get one opportunity. There may not be a lot of these. You can always think about doing it over somewhere down the road, but some things you may not know until it’s too late and you can’t do it over. An example is child rearing. The wise old man of the Old Testament, Solomon, said, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6). That is wisdom for sure.
What happens in raising children is that the work seems to be so elongated, taking place over months and years and years, that you lose your focus on making sure you are doing the right thing for the child day after day. You always think you’ll get around to the most important things later. Child rearing is a one-time opportunity to teach your child, lead your child, shape your child, help your child know God and His ways.
The reason children start to school at a certain age is because there’s an absolute, demonstrable, readiness window when they can start learning. They can’t do it when they are six months old. If you wait too long, you miss opportunities for them to be able to develop ideas in their minds because there is a window of readiness for such action. The truth is that receiving and understanding and responding to the things of God are important to instill in children before it’s too late, when they’re no longer receptive to it.
Whether you realize it or not and see it or not, you’re dealing with the one opportunity you have to bring your child to a relationship with the living God. Don’t miss it. Can people be saved later in life? Can they come to know Jesus in their forties? Absolutely, but very few do. Can you shape a child’s life when he gets to be twenty-eight, thirty-eight? Not likely, if you squandered the opportunity to love and care for that child and bring them to a relationship found only in Christ. You may miss the opportunity and you may miss the opportunity to teach them the principles of God’s Word, who He is, and what He wants them to do. We basically get a one-chance shot at really connecting with our children and helping them understand the things of God. It may pass away, so do it right.
In a totally different arena, just think about the fact that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. When you make a bad impression, it’s really hard to turn it around. You don’t get another opportunity to make a good impression, so stay on the cutting edge of being at your best by caring about the people around you and being hospitable to the people you just met. Make a good first impression.
This is a second item to think about: Sometimes you only get one opportunity, but some things can’t be fixed because you may have broken, torn up, ripped apart, some things and there’s no way to fix it. If you think it can always be fixed, no. I’ve seen marriages that were so harmed, wrecked, ruined, so many hard words, so many mean actions, so many deceitful things, so many destructive things have taken place between a husband and wife that there is no way to put it back together.
There are over a million divorces in America every year. That’s two million people. While I want to think God can change lives, make a difference in our families, put things back together, and they can go on and be a great and glorious Kingdom couple with great heavenly values, I like to think that, but so many people – one or both of them – will not set their eyes on and settle for God’s plan for their lives. They cannot get back together because they won’t get with Him. In light of the subject, don’t do it twice; do it right. Oftentimes they won’t do it the second time right or the third time right. It’s not unusual to not be able to fix the first marriage but carry all of our harmful ways into a second and third marriage.
One last item is the reality that sometimes you can’t fix some things. They cannot be fixed by you or some counselor or professor, some doctor or lawyer. Things are so convoluted and crossed up and deadly that they can’t be fixed by anyone except God. It is because of our sin problem, our away-ness from God that creates the kind of environment where there is no hope unless we turn to Him.
All of humanity from Adam and Eve to the next baby to be born on the planet, all of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God. None of us can put life back together, redeemed, positive, life-changing, apart from the life-changing presence and power of Jesus. Don’t do it twice or three or four times — do it right. The only way to do it right is to turn to the living Christ. Let Jesus be first in your life, first in your marriage, first in your home, first in your business dealings. On and on, we face the firsts. Jesus will lead you in putting your life, your work, your home together. Trust Him. Act with Him and see what He will do.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jim Futral