An A For Effort

Debunking this well intended notion.


I remember it like it was yesterday. I was on the sideline during a football game and my coach approached me and asked if I could do Frank’s job. With pride and confidence, I gave my reply.

“I’ll try coach. You have my word. I’ll give it my best – 100%”

Sounds like a good answer. My coach replied:

“Sit down Prasek. Frank’s trying. He’s giving it his best. I need someone who will get the job done.”

That moment is replayed in my mind almost daily. I’m a better person because of it. I’m grateful to my coach for drilling it into me.

I don’t buy into the “An A For Effort” notion. It’s not the real world. The brutal fact is that world judges us by our results.

The fact that you tried hard is often offered up as an excuse for failure. No, we should not give “An A For Effort”.

“I’m sorry I rear ended you. I tried my best to stop.”

It doesn’t work that way folks. And we need to quit rewarding effort alone.

I know that “An A For Effort” is well intended, but I would argue that it’s actually sewage from Hell. Here’s why:

Let’s turn it around. Let’s say you tried hard and succeeded. The assumption is that it was your effort that was the cause of your success. Really? You could have been lucky. You probably had some help. The reason I think it’s sickening is that it’s based on a world view of conditional acceptance. You are held in high esteem as long as you produce results.

It’s actually an insult. In other words, they don’t like you – they like the results you produce for them!

God sees things entirely different.

God loves you. He already knows you are flawed. He knows your effort could never be enough. But He loves you.

So, do we get a pass? We don’t need to make an effort?

Far from it. God speaks clearly that we are to not only make an effort, we are to take the initiative.

  • Salvation is a free gift, but we must take the initiative to confess and repent
  • God will draw close to us, but it is our responsibility to draw near to Him first
  • God parted the Red Sea AFTER Moses obediently extended his staff.
  • The walls of Jericho fell AFTER the Israelites marched around the city for a week
  • Gideon’s pathetically outnumbered army was victorious AFTER they obediently crushed the clay vessels and sounded the trumpets.

I could go on and on. The point is that victory is not a result of our effort. We all want victory. God is not a slave driver. God does not withhold His love until we’ve earned it. God promises that His yoke is light – but notice that there is a yolk!

We all want victory. We all want peace, serenity, and satisfaction. The world wants to put you on a treadmill. God wants to open the windows of heaven and pour out His blessings upon you.


That’s what I think. I’m interested in your thoughts. There’s lots of ways to hit me up so let me hear from you.

You can leave your comments below.

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Author: Mark Prasek

Christian Technologist. Find me on Twitter @DataGenesis

3 thoughts on “An A For Effort”

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