I’ve got a confession to make. In this modern day of computers and a seemingly infinite number of software programs to help you manage your time and schedule more efficiently, I still use a good old fashioned “to do” list. I discovered a long time ago that something significant happens when I take a pen and paper and write down a list of the things I need to accomplish during a particular day or week. The only down side is sometimes my list seems overwhelming. My “to do” list for this particular week covers an entire page from top to bottom. I know I’ll feel good at the end of the week when most, if not all the items are checked off but looking at my list today feels a little depressing and, honestly, a little impossible. Have you ever felt that way? Fortunately I memorized a great quote years ago that helps me in moments like this. It came from St. Francis of Assisi and it’s great advice to anyone who lives with a lot of responsibility. “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Now I don’t want to be misleading in any way. I’m not routinely involved with doing things that would fall into the category of the impossible…not in the strictest sense of the word. But sometimes the things I need to do feel impossible. But whether the task is impossible or simply feels impossible the solution is the same. Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible. In other words, do what must be done then do what can be done. And eventually you’ll look back and see that you’ve accomplished more than you ever imagined.
So much of success in life is wrapped up in an attitude that says, “I’m not going to give up…I’m not going to quit.” That has always been and will always be the key to success in life. And so that’s how we need to approach each day in life. In Psalm 90:12 David writes, So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Now, I don’t believe David is writing about counting our days, he’s writing about making our days count. How do we do that? The answer is by doing something. We get up every morning and whatever it is that’s in front of us we start by doing what’s necessary, then we do what’s possible and in the end we find we are doing the impossible (or what once seemed impossible). How do you think Noah built the ark? How did Nehemiah rebuild the walls of the City of Jerusalem? The answer is one day at a time…one board, one stone at a time. We make our days count when we do what’s necessary, then do what’s possible and end up doing the impossible.