God’s Standard of Excellence

excellence-paintbrushWhatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

Years ago I found myself painting the walls in the master bathroom of our home. I’m a decent painter, but it’s not my trade nor is it something I enjoy. That said, I have pretty high standards, so I was very focused on doing a good job. At one point, I found myself laying on my back and reaching way back to the wall under a bottom shelf that was perhaps 18″ inches from the floor. As I was gently brushing the trim under that shelf, I realized I was overdoing it. Nobody in their right mind would ever be looking under this shelf to see if I painted the trim and that back wall properly. They’d need a flashlight to do so, and that was with the lights on in the bathroom.

That’s when the Holy Spirit spoke to me, “Do it for me.”

It was the most meticulously painted wall in the whole room. I found myself in tears while I did it too. It became a love offering to God. It was one of the most powerful worship experiences of my life.

Working for the Lord

According to Colossians, we’re to maintain that standard of excellence in everything we do. That’s not to say that we should spend hours painting the backside of the drywall before we put it up, or check every sentence we write in our emails with the grammar dictionary to ensure it’s perfect, or even to keep our homes or offices meticulously clean at all times. I don’t believe that’s the point.

God isn’t looking for perfection. He is sorely aware of how imperfect we all can be, which of course is why He offered His perfect solution for our imperfection in Jesus Christ.

Rather, I believe God’s standard for excellence is simply our very best with what matters. Of course, we’re talking about ‘what matters’ to God, not ourselves or our earthly masters.

The last sentence of this Scripture states, “It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” It may be my wife who asked me to paint the walls, my boss who is requesting the report, or my pastor asking me to make a few phone calls; but it’s the Lord Christ who I am always serving. His high calling is to serve those around me as if the request came out of His own mouth.

My best is going to look different than yours too. You might be a much better painter than me. God is simply looking for me to give the best I can, with what I have. That includes my skills, my strengths & weaknesses, my experience, my time and my resources. Excellence is less about what others see or think, than it is about what God knows.

After all, nobody would have ever thought the widow gave her best when she put two cents in the offering (Luke 21:1-4). In comparison to others, it wouldn’t have counted as excellent service. Yet, that’s what Jesus Christ said about her. That offering was the one that represented what Colossians is calling each of us to do. To give our best.

I have a confession. I’m not there. I’d love to say I raise my children, help others in need, do my weekly chores and carry out my work responsibilities like I did when I painted that bathroom wall. But I can say that I aspire to that kind of service to and for Christ.

How about you? Do you maintain God’s standard for excellence in your life and ministry?

photo credit: Guillaume Brialon via photopin cc

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