Several years ago, The Ad Council, the world’s leading producer of public service advertisements, produced a series of commercials for their “Don’t Almost Give” campaign. One such ad shows a homeless man curled up in a ball on a pile of rags. One ratty bed sheet shields him from the cold.
The narrator says, “This is Jack Thomas. Today someone almost brought Jack something to eat. Someone almost brought him to a shelter. And someone else almost brought him a warm blanket.” After a brief pause, the narrator continues: “And Jack Thomas? Well, he almost made it through the night.”
Does your vocabulary contain a few “Almosts”? Mine certainly does.
I “Almost” chose a celery stick over potato salad at last night’s potluck.
I “Almost” called my hurting friend, but didn’t because she’d irritate me by gabbing on for hours.
I “Almost” didn’t fold my arms and mumble when the lady in the grocery store express lane insisted the clerk take her 40 items instead of the 20 allowed.
I “Almost” complimented my pipe-cleaner-look-alike friend on her weight loss.
I “Almost” helped my husband clean out the garage yesterday.
Almost. Almost. Almost.
Unfortunately, not all Almosts are inconsequential. Some of you know what I mean.
You “Almost” read to your child at bedtime.
You “Almost” went an evening without a drink.
You “Almost” kept your promise to pray fervently.
You “Almost” rejected the porn sight on the computer last night.
You “Almost” stopped before sending an ugly text.
You “Almost” made Jesus the Lord of your life.
Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe this type of behavior: Akrasia.
Akrasia is the state of acting against your better judgment. It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else. From Genesis to Revelation, we learn of characters that were guilty. Adam and Eve. Noah. Moses. Abraham. Saul. David. Rarely do we meet a Biblical character who isn’t an “Almost” type guy.
Perhaps during this Christmas season, we all should be intentional not to demonstrate Akrasiastic behavior and instead, turn our “almosts” into actions.
Next week I will post some ways we can do that very thing, to honor Christ as central to our life story, to bless others and, in return, receive the greatest blessing of all.