I want to do well. I don’t do things halfway. I want to be known as someone who is reliable, able, competent.
A drive for excellence is still important — wanting to do well, putting all our effort into a task, seeking to honor God by giving him our best — but we must pray for discernment and conviction t0 make sure these things do not morph into idols of perfectionism.
Especially in a ministry setting, I’ve realized that this can be an iron wall: wanting to do your best, but relying on the Lord means that it’s not in your own power. Add in the the fact that there’s always going to be someone who is “better” than you (read: with writing, teaching, knowledge, gentleness, hospitality, Scripture memorization, master of the Greek text, everyone they talk to gets magically saved and you can’t even manage to effectively communicate your college major to a non-Christian) — you can feel lame and discouraged.
But it’s not about who’s the greatest. I recall a time when the disciples were fighting about this, and Jesus shut them down pretty hard. It’s not about talent. It’s not about capability and who can do the best. It’s not about how much I can give and how much I feel pressured to do by others in order to keep up with the Jesus Joneses.
It’s about obedience. Spirit-powered obedience.
Serving God is about obedience, faithfulness, and willingness. The question is not, “Am I doing enough/talented enough/busy enough/famous enough.” The question is, “Am I being faithful to what God has put in front of me today and walking in step with Spirit?”
Jesus didn’t come to be famous. Jesus didn’t come to play comparison games. Jesus didn’t come so that I could be the best Bible teacher/writer/minister/whatever. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Jesus came to serve. Jesus came to become our reconciliation back to the Father. He showed us faithfulness unto death. What else would God expect from us?
I say all that to say this: if you find me scrubbing toilets somewhere for $8.00 an hour, I pray you find me faithful in the mission God has placed before me, and that I’m singing for joy at the opportunity to humble myself and demonstrate Christ.
Because, after all, it’s about being willing and obedient to do whatever God calls us to do, even if it’s not my version of ideal. He deserves our best, and we should strive to put in our best effort for whatever task/ministry opportunity we have, but we need to be obedient if we do end up cleaning bathrooms for a while and hocking hamburgers and selling toys to tourists.