Sunday, January 30, 2011

Selective excellence

"Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him [Jesus] to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem..." (Luke 9:51).

I like to do things with excellence. Well, let me rephrase that. Too often, the only things I like to do with excellence are those things that I like to do at all. In other words, if I'm not into it, I sometimes gripe or pout if it needs to be done.

Take yesterday, for example. My wife & I were cleaning. Not that either of us jumps out of bed on cleaning day and runs to grab a sponge or a broom. But today showed me how she pursues excellence in the things that are important, not just the things she wants to do. She had a task that, frankly, if it were me I would have put it off. But she was intent on completing it. Now we had been cleaning for a while, and I decided I had done enough. After all, I worked hard our previous cleaning day (well, so did she--but that's besides the point...). So though I didn't say anything, I stewed in my selfish anger quietly because I felt I couldn't stop working when she was still at it.

So God had to hit me upside the head with the importance of doing excellent work at all times, regardless if I want to do so. Jesus was going to Jerusalem to finish the work He had started. He knew very well that included being mocked, beaten, and hung on a cross. Luke 9:51 says he "steadfastly set His face" to go there. He was determined. We know in Gethsemane that due to the horrors he was to face, He would have wanted another way to do His Father's will if it were possible. But doing what He needed to do with excellence and honor was His first priority.

I thought of that verse, and I said to myself, "How dare I slack off with this. It's so small compared to the much more vital and sacrificial situation that Jesus approached with such resolve." And as I continued to work, I completed more than I had originally intended. Today, I feel good about what I did, and I pray that I may learn to pursue even greater things to come, not just because I want to, but because they will honor God and others.

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