Monday, May 11, 2009

The Standard in All things Human

If I had to pick one thing that bothers me about Christians/the Church/Christendom today, it's our lack of drive to be the absolute best. We ought to strive for nothing less than excellence in all of our endeavours. We are a reflection of the God we serve, and looking around at God's reflectors here in America, God seems pretty, well, lousy.

Jesus asks us to function as lights to society, so that they can "see our good deeds and give honor to our Father in heaven." Furthermore, in I Corinthians Paul said that we should do everything for God's glory.

If God is really so great (not to mention real) why aren't His followers great? Why aren't we producing the most talented music, running the most successful businesses, building the most efficient houses, writing the most brilliant books, developing the most advanced technology, and altogether running circles around the competition?

To make matters worse, we hypocritically condemn the "secular" pursuits of the world, only to capitalize on their developments. We use cell phones, drive cars, shop at stores, watch TV, take medication, live in houses, and enjoy other such "worldly" creations. Basically, we mooch off of society's advancements, all the while touting an I-only-pursue-God-and-I-don't-waste-my-time-on-temporary-pleasures-because-I-am-so-spiritual attitude.

We tell ourselves that anything other than Bible study and prayer is somehow un-spiritual, and so we don't pursue our interests with excellence (i.e. we aren't good "contributors to society"). If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well. If you think it would be a waste of time to perform something you do with anything short of excellence, you are wasting your time. God has given us dominion over this world, and has asked us to bring honor and glory to His reputation. We are supposed to be making God famous. People should watch what we do, and see the glory of God. God has saved us from an old life of bondage to sin, and brought us into a new life of bondage to Him. We have been brought from death to life. We should want to please God, by doing our absolute best for Him. Anything else damages the reputation of God.

The problem comes when I look in the mirror. Am I an excellent writer? researcher? assistant manager? citizen? church member? husband? Do I contribute something worthwhile to others, or just leach off of other's accomplishments?

Truth is, I'm a pretty mediocre guy. Maybe the problem isn't other Christians. Maybe the problem is me.


  1. This is a great reminder to do our best where God has put us, no matter what our job is or who our influences are. :)

  2. sorry, I'm tired...that should've said 'who we're able to influence' instead of what it did say. :(

  3. I would agree that we are to always do our absolute best, whether at your job, or as a spouse or parent or any endeavor, but I would add one thing. We are merely tools in His hand. You could be the best tool in the shed but you will never accomplish anything on your own. We cannot do the work of God without God.

    It's not how excellent a speaker or writer you are but it's God & His Word that works in the hearts of people. God is sovereign & He will accomplish what he wants with or without us. Number one thing God wants from His people is that we hunger after righteousness & serve Him faithfully. Oops! Time to leave for graduation

  4. This lack of excellence among Christian culture is 100% accurate in my mind, and here's why.

    Guess who has the worst reputation among Sign Language Interpreters? Church interpreters. A common- COMMON- phrase in the Deaf Community is "lousy church interpreter"; this phrase is used to insult someone, as in: "what are you? a lousy church interpreter?" or out of exasperation, "what a lousy church interpreter", etc.

    The reason that church interpreters have gained this reputation is because of the lack of excellence that you talk about. Church's will often take anyone who can wave their hands. "Oh, how cool!" they say about the person signing, with no consideration to whether or not they are accurately communicating the message. Hospitals, courtrooms, and schools will almost always strictly require education and certification, but our church's couldn't be bothered. And so often the Deaf attendees will leave missing what was truly preached or shaking their heads thinking, "Lousy church interpreter".

  5. Thanks everyone for the feedback.

    Thanks for the reminder Carrie, it's a challenge sometimes to do a good job, even if our influence is relatively small.

    Grandma, point well taken, and you're right - unless God's hand is with us, our efforts are trivial.

    Emily, thanks for the perspective from Deaf culture, and thanks for all your hard work to be the best - I'm so proud of you!