Last week I was thinking about all the places I’ve lived. In my Tribe, most churches provide the pastor with a home. We call it a “parsonage”. Most churches seem to have the attitude, “It’s just the preacher’s home. It doesn’t need much upkeep.” And it seems to me that some of my colleagues have the same attitude by how they treat, and leave the parsonage for their successor. I remember what one Bishop said every year, “When you move, move. And take the dog and piano with you.” Obviously they weren’t listening because I’ve inherited everything from rusty bicycles to used auto parts. But that’s not me. Over the decades I have spent considerable time, effort and $$$ to improve its appearance.
This is a “before” picture of a door I once repainted.
I do not know who attempted to paint this door and I do not want to insult anyone, but it is a very poor job of painting. It had runs, drips and errors, lots of them. I spent over an hour trying to sand and scrape all those runs, drips, and errors before I added the paint. Had I not done that, then those runs, drips and errors would have still be there. The paint I would add would not have removed them, it would have just added another layer. There was no attempt to do this job with excellence. It seemed to be just an alleged attempt to paint without caring about the result.
Here is something I’ve recently learned at the feet of the Holy Spirit. Many who claim to love Jesus is that while they do “their best” AT church, they don’t put much effort into doing “their best” IN the ordinary days. I’ve come to realize that this lackadaisical attitude toward the ordinary things is a symptom of a deeper spiritual problem. That problem is living without the desire for excellence in everything, all the time. I’m not talking about being a Rembrandt at painting doors. It’s simply desiring that whatever we put our hands to doing, that it be done with great care and the desire for it to be good.
When we don’t do ordinary things with the desire for excellence, it becomes a habit in the spiritual things. The cancer of mediocrity has spread from the workplace into the body of Christ. Though we could never repay Jesus for what He did for us on the Cross, we should have the desire to be thankful for that Sacrifice by honoring Him through our commitment to a (if you will allow me to borrow a baseball image) “No Runs, No Drips, and No Errors” attitude in the ordinary things of life.
In Colossians 3:23, Paul spoke into how Disciples of Jesus were to live in the unjust system of slavery. He wrote: “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” But there is an application beyond how those who were slaves should live. It can and SHOULD be applied to everyone, everyday, and every situation. Think it doesn’t matter what we do in an ordinary day? Take a moment to read, meditate and analyze Jesus’ parable about The Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Every task before you is an opportunity to break free of mediocrity into the life that God expects, even demands, from all of us.
One of the very best ways one can give witness to the transforming Grace of God is to do everything as if we were offering a gift to God; because we are whether we realize it or not. I’m not taking about perfection–but excellence that produces something you can take pride and joy in offering it to God. Your workday, your house cleaning, your painting doors, would you feel comfortable in offering it to God? God accepts all that we offer Him when we desire to do it with excellence.
Remember Romans 12:1 and from The Message it goes like this:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
At the end of the day, remember: No Runs. No Drips. And No Errors.
Love God with all your heart. Love others the way HE loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to HIM!