Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Excellence in All Things

Over the summer at World Changers the students were challenged to be excellent in everything they do. That is something I have long been praying to be able to do and has been something I seek to live by in ministry and in all work I do.

The principle is simply this, that Christians, as the Redeemed people of God, should always seek to do their best in everything they do, because they work for Christ primarily and should therefore seek to honor Him in everything they do by offering their best.

In my life this has meant that I never settle for second best, and never settle for mediocrity. It has meant to me personally to always seek to be the best at what I do, not to my credit, but for the Glory of God. For my marathon training, it means I never settle for complacency, but always am after faster times, longer distances, better conditioning, running hard when things hurt and when I'm tired because I run to God's glory that I might make Him known through my efforts. It means that at Starbucks, I seek to be the best at what I do there, not to pat myself on the back, but because I work for Christ and He deserves my best effort. It means that at the church, I pour myself into my work, putting in hours above what is expected of me because I want to give my best and my all to the Lord, to give many hours to study for our Wednesday night service so that I may rightly divide the Word of Truth and present the Scripture accurately to the students. It means I put hours into planning events and preparing things for them regardless of how many of them actually come or care. It means I labor as a farmer in his field to see a harvest of mature, Christ-honoring young men and women ready to take on a world that seeks to destroy their faith and their Christian worldview. My ministry to them will not see fruit for years, but it is one I believe strongly in and will work my best at.

That being said, I fear that in this day we have accepted being C students as being acceptable, that we shouldn't put forth our best effort and give our all in everything we do. That, friends, is laziness. To not pour your all into every task, every course, every program, anything you do in life is simply laziness. God desires our best, and we should always seek to be a people and a Church Universal to strives to do all things with excellence, because we serve an Excellent God who expects nothing less and deserves nothing more. Churches who settle for second best are like the people of Israel who gave sick and lame animals to the Lord in sacrifice. All churches who do not seek excellence in programming, preaching, music, worship, organization, etc. are churches who are not fully seeking the Lord and are not honoring Him as they should.

May our double love for God and Neighbor draw us to work as hard as possible for the Lord, and may we never take our eyes off the cross as we seek to make the glories of His Name known throughout the world. My challenge as you read this is simple, where are you selling God short on your effort, and what can you do to glorify Him more in your life? Pastors who read this, give your all in your work, pour yourself into the task, it will make you depend more on Christ to give you strength, and NEVER settle for being second best and not desiring to have excellent sermons, music, programming, etc. Glorify the Lord in your ministry, and He will bless you.



jason said...

Scottie -

How much of this "excellence in everything" is the world creeping into Christian thought?

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but I think there is a line to be drawn. The fact is, with limitations on time and energy as finite beings, you simply can't be "excellent" at everything.

When Stockton was born, I literally had to make a choice between being an excellent father / husband, and continue to be an excellent student.

I completely agree with you that one should strive for excellence in ministry - but I think there is a balance there as well. If I am creating a video for Sunday night, for example, I can do it much better than a student can, but the student will feel ownership in the ministry and potentially discover a new passion if I allow him to do it.

I wholeheartedly agree with 98% of your post, just wanted to throw out the tension that exists as well.

Blessings bro.

Scott Douglas said...

Thanks for the honest assessment JB, and yeah there is a tension there that is real.

As finite beings we only have so much time and energy to devote to a task.

My concern is that the Church should seek excellence in all things, instead of settling for something less than their best.

The "of the world" part is interesting though, anyone else have thoughts on that?