Sunday, January 06, 2008

When Excellence Demands Mediocrity

One would think that the degree of authority with we are charged to do all things "with excellence" is indicative of the fact that such a charge actually comes from the Bible. Recent archaeology has surely uncovered the Eleveth Commandment, "Thou Shalt Do All Things With Excellence," right?

When this insistence is applied to the spiritual kingdom, the logic usually runs thus: "God is glorious and majestic, and unless our church's music and production reflect this, we're selling him short." I'll not spend the necessary time refuting this notion, since I assume that most Reformed amillennialists will see right through this subtle marginalization of the cross.

But the requirement to do all things excellently does seem to make more sense when applied in the civil kingdom, since what passes as power and prestige in the secular realm is quite different from what characterizes the spiritual one.

But can we really bear this burden?

It seems to me that it's hard enough to do even one thing well. And can those of us similarly plagued with mediocrity really be expected to do many things well, let alone all things excellently?

One thing that we average-level Christians could stand to wrestle with is the question, "If I can't be great at everything, which among my various callings are worth the effort needed to excel at them?"

If answering this question entails sacrificing job recognition for a "World's Greatest Dad" coffee mug (though in a meritocracy the latter is worth almost nothing), is that a sacrifice we are willing to make? Is it a "sacrifice" at all?

Sure, the demands of every sphere are unique, and no two sets of circumstances are ever identical. But the storing up of heavenly treasure often demands the sacrificing of that which is earthly, and the responsibility to nurture and train our covenant children in the faith is surely an opportunity to do the former, even if it also entails the latter.