Why is striving for and committing to excellence so important? Well, at work, it’s so we don’t get yelled at and that we keep our jobs! But seriously, even at work, the boss says that people can take the skills they learn there, like being a leader, and use them for whatever the workers do in life. This is so true! If I didn’t get a job at Chick-fil-A, I wouldn’t be able to compare this to how we need to go about achieving excellence for Christ. Thank you, Holmes!
But committing to excellence in Christ through everything we do is to show that we love the Lord with all our hearts. God the Father didn’t keep his one and only precious on from us. He offered up his very best and only that, not his 2nd best. He didn’t send down some mediocre angel, he sent his very joy, the center of his heart: his perfect son Jesus Christ. He loved us, and gave us his best for our sake, therefore we are called to make him priority, put him first and give him our best for his sake and the sake of others. We are called to love like he did, and that means going up and beyond for him.
“’A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’” John 13:34-35
It’s true. Others will know we are his disciples when we love one another. They will see the love. I am hard on myself about singing because when I sing for him, I want it to be the best it can be. This may mean many hours of practice and rehearsal and growing through criticism. I deal with people I don’t like. I take crap from people I can’t stand because I adhere to this standard.
Sometimes the job at Chick-fil-A is really hard! Don’t get me wrong, we all get tired, all have problems. At work, sometimes it drives me crazy to go to school and then go to work right afterward, and then stay until we close. We have personal problems and sometimes don’t feel cheery or feel like smiling. One of my managers had a family member who had a stroke.
I was so amazed by her humility because even though this was true, she was still smiling, and she was talking to me and some other girls, saying it was not easy to do when you feel down like that, but it is still part of the job. She said if she can do it, so can we. It was so cool how she was putting the happiness of the customers above her happiness. She’s paid to do it, but that doesn’t make it easy.
This reminds me of a Christian parallel. As Christians, sometimes we find it hard to deal with people who are radically against our faith and they are hard to deal with. I know I deal with people like that! Like no matter what you say, they basically hate it. We get so frustrated! Yet and still, I remember my manager putting up with people despite her pain, and so I am learning to look deep inside myself and find strength and grace to put up with people, loving them, despite how they make me feel. At work, we get paid for it, and with Christ, we get his many blessings that blow us away. We get more joy than we could imagine.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ‘Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.’” Matthew 5:10-12
Jesus had grace when he was persecuted, and he still loved his persecutors. The people who ended up killing him, the Jews he had grown up with, Pilate, a bunch of people who blamed him for doing no wrong, who had tried to stone him and finally succeeded in killing him- he died for them! He died to rescue everyone who spit on him and rescue the ones who put nails in him. He died to rescue all of us who have done wrong on earth, which is… all of us. So Christ had mercy on me, and so I have mercy on others. I know that by being persistent and fighting to win people’s heart to the name of Christ, their hard hearts eventually will be softened a little.
I attempt to be graceful like that manager, and graceful like Christ. A worker pursuing excellence is someone who has their own problems behind the scenes, but you can’t tell because they are trying to stay in ‘work mode’. A disciple pursuing excellence is someone who may get fed up with others and with the hardships in following Jesus, but push on, even when difficult.