Words of Worth

“If you want something done right…”

February 28, 2015

sebastian-125x125In the movie, The Little Mermaid, Sebastian the lobster tried to get Prince Eric to kiss Ariel the mermaid. Annoyed by the seagull singing romantic songs with a horrible voice, Sebastian said, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.” So Sebastian did just that—he composed beautiful tunes to set the right mood for the kiss!  If you are not familiar with this movie, you may at least be familiar with the phrase.

However, most people are probably not familiar with Charles-Guilllaume Étienne, a French dramatist and writer born in the 18th century, and credited with coining the phrase, “On n’est jamais servi si bien que par soi-même.” The phrase has been widely translated “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” However, the literal translation is, “One is never served so well as by oneself.”

This is an age old adage that can have several meanings ranging from something as simple as baking your own cake to something as complicated as building your own house! However, the phrase has taken a new twist in the 21st century! We see this mentality of “getting things done right by doing them yourself” all over the place.  Want a well taken photo of yourself?  Then take a “selfie”.  Want to be treated like a best friend would treat you? Then become your own best friend.

I have always preferred the kind of friendship that involved at least one other person in addition to myself. And Martha Beck, life coach and best-selling author, would agree with me but go a step further. Beck acknowledges that friendship takes two but sometimes friends don’t know how to be a good friend or do friendship well. If friendship is not being done right, or well, then what do you do? According to Beck, you do it yourself and you “self- befriend” and engage in good empathetic listening and conversations with yourself!

Perhaps the greatest twist I am aware of when it comes to this adage is the news story last month about the woman in Houston, Texas who married herself.  She vowed if, by the time she turned 40, she did not find someone who loved her as much as she loved herself, she would marry herself. And she did just that and the ceremony went viral!

We see this mentality all over the place nowadays. Self-photograph, self-befriend, self-marry.

We see this mentality all over the place, that is to say, except for in Scripture. I don’t see any place in the Bible where it is suggested, “one is never served so well as by oneself.” But I do see that the best thing I can do for myself is die to self every day and follow Christ:

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Luke 9:23

 No greater friend or bridegroom is there other than Jesus Christ. It is in Christ alone that all things are done perfectly and all are best served!

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

I Peter 2:24

%d bloggers like this: