Whatever you do work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Col. 3:23
If anything, those words call for excellence in everything we do, especially when it comes to working for the Lord, because, after all, all we do is actually for the Lord. Excellence should be the passion of our heart-all the time.
Daisy Hepburn writes in “Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way” “Good, better, best, never let it rest—until your good is your better and your better is your best!” Nothing but the best should characterize what we do for the Lord, all the time.
Bob Russell, long time Lead Pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY says…
· In everything-excellence.
· Excellence is not valuing one ministry above another.
· Excellence is not perfection.
· Excellence is not being judged by the standards and opinions of others.
· Excellence is doing your very best in whatever you do, especially for the Lord. Excellence is quality ministry. Excellence is going the second mile. Excellence is planning and preparation ahead of time. Excellence is first class ministry. Excellence is ministry flowing from a healthy, full relationship with Christ. Excellence is refusal to cut corners or just doing enough to get by on. Excellence is God’s call to every Christian.
Whether you sing a song…play an instrument…serve communion…greet…usher…teach a class…preach a sermon…read Scripture…participate in drama…serve in the nursery…change diapers…change light bulbs…mow grass…facilitate a group…lead a ministry team…whatever you do, do it “with all your heart”.
I can think of two enormously important reasons why excellence is needed in everything we do for the Lord– all the time.
BECAUSE JESUS GAVE US HIS VERY BEST.
Philippians 2:5-8 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!”
Why? Because His ministry on our behalf was a ministry of excellence.
Leonardo Da Vinci was once at work for a long period of time on a great masterpiece. He had labored long to complete this work of art and it was near completion. Standing near him was a young student who spent much of his time with his mouth open, amazed at the master with the brush. Just before finishing the painting, Da Vinci turned to the young student and gave him the brush and said, “Now, you finish it.” The student protested and backed away, but Da Vinci said, “Will not what I have done inspire you to do your best?”
Because He gave His very best he deserves the very best from us.
PEOPLE’S ETERNITY DEPENDS ON IT.
Everything we do in ministry and for the Lord effects the eternity of people who come our way. How you do your ministry will oftentimes be the factor that determines whether they will return or you will get a second chance. We are influencing people all the time. And that influence reaches all the way into eternity.
Darren Walter wrote a book called The People Magnet Church. Some of what he addresses applies to the first impression people, but much of it applies to everyone who serves the Lord.
“The good news is that because of the blood of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for me, I’m going to heaven by God’s grace, regardless of how people treat me in any church. The bad news is that there are people who do not know God’s grace and are unaware of Christ’s sacrifice. They are going to Hell. And they will make a decision to accept or reject God based on how they are received in His House, by you and me. I’m not trying to be over dramatic here. I truly believe that eternity hangs in the balance when a guest walks through the doors of your church. Those who volunteer their time to greet, welcome, usher, and answer questions of those visiting have some of the most important challenges in the entire church body. Many times we only have one chance to make an impression, one shot at showing our love for people.
The fact is -most guests make up their minds whether they’ll return for a second time in the first few moments of their visit. Long before they hear the sermon or the solos, they’ve decided if they’ll ever come back based on how we treat them.”
· How we treat them is the first factor.
· The second one is the quality and passion with which we do our ministry. How well we represent our Lord. If He really is the most important person in life to us then it will be seen in the excellence of our ministry.
In effect, people come with two foremost questions in their mind that they want an answer to.
1. Do these people really care about me?
2. Are these people really serious about this thing called Christianity?
The quality with which we serve the Lord and do our ministry influences others and that influence can touch eternity. Never forget that. Engrave it on your soul
I know it is highly likely that you will not receive the response or recognition from people that you anticipate or desire or think you deserve. So what do you do? Do it anyway. Do excellence anyway.
Robert Schuller wrote. (I have altered it a little.)
People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
LOVE THEM ANYWAY!
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
DO GOOD ANYWAY!
If you are successful you win false friends and true enemies.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
DO GOOD ANYWAY!
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY!
People favor underdogs but follow only the top dogs.
FIGHT FOR SOME UNDERDOGS ANYWAY!
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
People really need help but may attack you if you help them.
HELP PEOPLE ANYWAY!
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU’VE GOT ANYWAY!
From “Tough Times Never Last but Tough People Do” by Robert Schuller
Do it anyway because it’s not the response of the people that we are doing it for. It’s our love for Jesus that moves us.
So do it. Do it with all your heart, with your very best. And keep doing it regardless of the response we get.
Excellence Glorifies God and Inspires People.