A topic I’ve written on many times over the last year or two is excellence. As followers of Christ, excellence is demanded of believers in all we do. Because we follow the Excellent One, we are to pursue excellence with vim and vigor.
Christians should desire to be the most excellent writers, filmmakers, businesspeople, chefs, parents, carpenters…
And yet it’s not hard to look around and see we fall far short of this ideal.
Most of the time, I think you can fairly chalk up our failures to the curse at work. From the moment we fell, our work became hindered by thorns and thistles preventing us from reaping the fruit of our labors (Gen. 3:17-18). We work hard, but our work falls short.
None of us are exempt from this reality; it is the way the world is wired in light of our sin.
But we should probably be careful to avoid pinning all our failures on the curse.
Sometimes it’s just because we just don’t try to do a good job.
I’m not sure how it got started, but somewhere along the way Christians began to confuse what is excellent with what is not.
We make heavy-handed movies and schmaltzy songs. We define stewardship as frugality. We eschew disciplined effort for a half-hearted desire to be “flexible” in business.
This, friends, is goofiness.
Or, to put a finer point on it, when we simply don’t do a good job out of a lack of effort, it’s sin.
Excellence demands we give our best to the glory of God. And when we hold up something we know is sub-par and call it “great,” what do we do?
We lie to ourselves and to the Lord.
This is something particularly challenging for me when I find myself tempted to put in a half-hearted effort at work and with my family. And what I’ve found is it actually takes more effort to do a poor job than to do a good one. Why? Because you have to justify why it’s okay to not do what is excellent.
Spin takes tremendous effort.
And this, too, is goofiness.
But make no mistake—God is not glorified by goofiness. Our deceit might smell like sweet bread in the moment, but when we bite, we’ll break our teeth and find our mouths “full of gravel” (Prov. 20:17). Instead, we need to remember to ”work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men;” regardless of our profession and interest, we “are serving the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24).
This is the grace God gives us to glorify Him in our work. To discipline ourselves and to pursue excellence diligently. He reminds us who we work for. We don’t simply for for a man or a corporation; we work for the living God who purchased us through the blood of His Son.
And if He sacrificed so much, how can we not pursue excellence to His glory and our joy?