2000-03-23 - The Enemy of Excellence
Col 3:23-24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. (KJV)
Sometimes 'good enough' is all there is time to do. When the task is to stop the bleeding to keep someone alive, or get the system back up without this piece, so that 85% of the company can get moving, good enough for the time being will have to do. These times are the odd exception. There is a measure of excellence in the accomplishment that gets something done to get things moving or save a life anyway you can. It may not be pretty but the important goals are met.
But there are tasks that we all see as so monotonous and boring that we can get caught in a trap. The trap is doing these things as quickly as possible just to get past them. There are tasks that we don't want to do, but these can be a test of character. If you do 10 pushups wrong, you may never do more than 10 pushups at a time. But if you do one pushup right, even if it takes everything you've got, you will eventually do 10 right and more. If you are willing to turn that hurried project in to your boss, stop and realize that this is a representation of you and your Christianity to your boss. Jesus is our Lord, and is our ultimate authority. We are responsible to Him in the end. It is He who has placed this person in a position of authority over you or me. You and I have been given an opportunity to shine in front of these people. We like Paul before Caesar, we have a captive audience.
During a recent leadership training class, the instructor repeatedly emphasised the theme that the enemy of excellence is good enough. This has been a theme that has rung true through my life over and over again. The times that I have done what is needed to get by are the times that I lost out. Either I did not learn the material, did not do well in the game or job, or I was unhappy or unsatisfied with my performance. The last point is probably the most personally disturbing. In those times comes a still, small voice saying, next time Michael, do your best for Me.
Never think that the thing you are doing is unimportant or insignificant. If you don't put your piece in the puzzle, the puzzle is not finished. No matter how small, or how far behind the scenes we may think we are, someone is watching us. It may be someone you didn't know was watching. It may be Jesus alone showing you or me something about our character and our dependence on Him. Do what you are to do so that you would be satisfied handing it in to your Lord and you will not be disappointed with the results.
Lord Jesus - if our lives are to be lights in the darkness, they must shine with excellence. Our thoughts and words will be better received if we are known as people who dot all the i's and cross all the t's. Help us to understand that things done well are stones that pave the path to speak to others about You and Your salvation. Amen.
Grace & Peace,