Living Life Excellently
“Shelton Smith, Editor of “The Sword of the Lord” said, “The difference between mediocrity and excellence is midnight oil, elbow grease, and the power of God.”
Mediocrity is a Dad tucking his kids into bed. Excellence is intentionally reminding them of our love, reading them a story and praying with them first.
Mediocrity is being committed enough to our spouse that we show them kindness and remain faithful. Excellence is intentionally dating our spouse and discovering more of their heart.
Mediocrity is performing the minimum requirements of our job. Excellence is going above and beyond what is required to serve our supervisors in unexpected ways…
Midnight Oil: A life of excellence can’t be achieved in an 8-to-5 window. This isn’t a call to work-a-holism, but rather a challenge to realize that dreamers and doers who change the world put in extra hours thinking, planning, and working toward their goals. Our minds and bodies obviously need an appropriate amount of rest, but our spirits need time to cultivate a vision for excellence.
Elbow Grease: Practice makes perfect, right? Maybe close. The point is, people who do things well have usually spent a lot of time doing those things poorly, learning, and improving. This takes time. It takes years. Excellence is only possible when we’re willing to transition from dreaming to doing. We have to be willing to devote time, energy, and resources toward our big goals.
The Power of God: Obviously even nonbelievers, who have no real access to God’s supernatural power, can build nations, businesses, and legacies. But I’m a follower of Jesus, so my aims and pursuits should be oriented around God’s Kingdom. When it comes to seeking the Kingdom first, excellence is only possible with the power of God working within and around us. And that requires humbling ourselves, yielding to his plan, and depending on his enabling.”
[SermonCentral.com; excerpts from Brandon Smith’s article dated 2.2.2016: “The Difference Between Mediocrity and Excellence”].
What if we were to choose to live life excellently? Burn a little Midnight oil by praying for our church, friends and family. What if we chose to become a better spouse, parent or child? When we worship, what if we sang a little louder, prayed more fervently and heeded the Holy Spirit’s prompting in our lives? What if we put in the extra effort (elbow grease) into being better, at what we do, throughout every day? What kind of world would we be creating for ourselves? Would it be better or worse? I think better.
I know we are busy, worn out and stretched thin. Often it is difficult to get through the day. Some may view each day with a sigh waiting to see what is going to happen to them forgetting they possess the power of God which dwells inside of them. In our own power we trudge through day doing the bare minimum to get by and then collapsing in bed each night. BUT what if, we viewed our days differently? What if we planned to attack our day for the Kingdom of God rather than merely enduring it over and over again? You say, “Bro. Dave, How do I do that?”
Have you heard the saying, “Carpe Diem” or “seize the day?” This should be every believer’s attitude toward life. Viewing your day’s tasks with an outlook of how you can impact other people’s lives in a positive manner for God: Encouraging your colleagues, peers and employees; being ready to share the hope that is within you – openly living out our faith in Christ and being the hope, the light and the salt of life to others. Excellence begins when we allow the power of God to flow through our lives and affect other people around us – family, friends, peers, neighbors, church family etc.
Many years ago, in my home church in Ohio, our associate pastor’s son was a successful manager of a fast food restaurant with a wife and child but he wanted to quit his job and go to college to become an electrical engineer. He went to his father and told him of his decision and his dad offered every reason why he shouldn’t do it: he had bills, he had a family to support and he was well on his way to possibly becoming a regional manager. In a final appeal our associate pastor said, “But son you will be 30 when you graduate.” To which the young man replied, “I am going to be 30 anyway, I would rather be an engineer than working in a restaurant.” He was willing to burn the midnight oil, put in the effort and by the power of God he became an electrical engineer in not four years,but three. My point is this. WE have to go through each day anyway. Isn’t your life worth living excellently for God rather than in mediocrity for yourselves?
Today is all we have, tomorrow never comes. Your Pastor, Dave Rowser