A surgeon weeps in private when he loses a patient-even one that went under the knife without much chance of survival–“Could I have done better? Was it my lack of training, dedication, skill?” An artist looks at a finished work and regrets he did not add a highlight there, or paid more attention to values there. An athlete looks at a replay of a dropped pass and wonders, “Did I do my best?” A divorcee thinks, “Could I have done better?” Fired from the job, an employee asks, “Could I have done better?” Every writer looks at a published work and laments, “I could have done better.” Any preacher who is worth his salt thinks after every sermon, “I could have preached a better sermon.” Every pastor, after years in the pastorate realizes he could have done better as a shepherd of the flock.
To those who say and mean, “Could I have done better?”, the answer is always “Yes, you should have.” It is not in the answer that the truth and benefit lies, but in the heart desire to wonder the answer; it means we are not satisfied with the past or present, but seek a better future result.
Learn from the past and always seek more wisdom and more skill in application of it. That earnest search will help us find the better.
Self-satisfaction, even in the midst of accolades by others, is the death of creative life. Only God can look at what he did and say “It is good” and only One has ever justly said, “It is finished.”
Our work is always imperfect and we must agree with the Apostle Paul,
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14 KJB).