Don’t listen to condescending voices of marginalization and mediocrity. Voices that say you don’t have to work as hard as you do, because less is “just fine.” Those voices don’t recognize that the unnecessary extra time you take and the unneeded effort you expend lead to a result they describe as “fine.” It doesn’t occur to them that less effort and less time would knock “fine” down to…less than fine.
Consider that when the voices continue to tell you that you don’t have to work so hard to be good at what you do, they let you know time and time again how little they know you or how little respect they have for your determination to give your best.
Don’t listen to voices that tell you that you shouldn’t work as hard as you do because it makes other people look bad. When you’re gone, it will be evident that you weren’t the reason someone else wasn’t succeeding. When others continue to contribute the minimum and complain because they think they are entitled to more opportunities even though they continue to prove they can’t be depended upon, it will be evident that you weren’t hogging their opportunities and stealing their affirmation.
Don’t listen to voices that ask you to step back. To say less. do less. give less. and be less.
When you are talented in some area and doing a job you are overqualified for, it may seem like you don’t need to work as hard to be half as good as everyone else involved in the job.
put another way,
When you are really good at something and you are working with people whose skills are average or less, it may be tempting to coast.
but what if you didn’t? What if, instead, you did your absolute BEST work?
What if you put forth the kind of effort required when you are in a situation where YOU are the one working with people who have more skills and experience and you are striving to keep up?
In that situation, if you were the person with less talent and YOU worked harder than someone with more talent,
who would be seen as the person with the strongest work ethic?
would you be given more responsibility?
would your pursuit of excellence inspire others to also give their best, leading to increased morale and an elevation of the entire project?
When you are the person with less talent and YOU work harder than the person with more talent, does that make YOU their greatest competition?
Back to the original scenario, if YOU are the person on a team who has the greatest talent, the strongest skillset and the most experience and YOU pursue EXCELLENCE when a lesser effort would still contribute more than…everyone else combined,
would you be seen as the person with the strongest work ethic?
would you confirm to everyone involved that you deserve more responsibility and opportunity?
would the respect others have for you increase? would YOUR pursuit of excellence not only inspire others to give their best but also lead to CONTAGIOUS increase of morale and EXPONENTIAL elevation of the entire project?
Consider: If you are the person with the greatest talent and someone works harder than you, they are your greatest competition.
If you are a person of faith,
~ diligently pray that the Holy Spirit would equip your for the work and then lean on God’s power to accomplish in you what you can’t accomplish on your own.
~ ask God to make you aware of what He wants you to attend to and who He might want you to help and encourage or even mentor.
~ ask God to help you be a strong witness for His love and grace.
Be a #GoodSteward of the talents you’ve been blessed with.
Keep your focus on #AudienceofOne
“Whatever you do,
work at it with all your heart,
as working for the Lord,
not for men” Colossians 3:23 (NIV)
The first word that jumps into my head when I read this verse is: competence.
I’m not sure when I first figured out that – as someone who professes faith in Christ – everything I do and say reflects on Jesus. There were probably multiple factors involved in coming to that realization:
~ I remember when I was young and first began working in the legal industry, there were multiple highly educated, wealthy people who belittled my faith and spoke condescendingly to me as they expressed that they perceived me to be idealistic and naive because I believed in God and “wasted my time” serving in church. If I listened to the root message under the messages, it was always grounded in the opinion that the only people who believed in God were less educated, less “successful” in the business world and, well…perpetually stuck in a lower socioeconomic class. Those people were sad and underprivileged and believing in God made them feel better. An “opium for the people” kind of a thing.
~ This is really going to date me, but I remember sitting in a hair salon and being simultaneously and intensely challenged by multiple women to defend Christianity in light of the sex scandal involving revivalist evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, a prostitute and a hotel room. It blew me away that, based on his bad behavior, not only was my faith suspect, but Christian faith overall was being attacked and rejected. I realized with much clarity at that moment that Christians were being watched like prey and sometimes attacked for sport.
~ When my kids were little, I remember telling them that no matter where they are or who they are with, when they wear their school uniform, they represent their school. Their words and actions are a reflection on their school. It was a short connection to realize that because the uniform was printed with the name of a Christian school, the kids were described by those watching as “those kids from the Christian school.” The tone of voice was telling as to whether the statement was an indication of approval or disapproval. When the comment expressed approval, it was often spoken with pleasant surprise, while the disapproving comments were more sarcastic and dripping in “it figures” and “what do you expect?”
I’m sure I could think of more examples, but you get the idea. Back then and today, despite the number of Christians with advanced degrees, well-paying careers and lives suffused with gracious words and actions, they are very, very often thought of as uneducated, unskilled, poor, illogical, ignorant, unreasonable, undependable…the list could go on…
Colossians 3:23 reminds me that it’s possible to challenge and even change those perceptions. It’s possible for someone who professes faith in and dependence on Jesus to be viewed as intelligent, competent and dependable. But to intentionally and consistently “work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord,”
I need to:
– as much as I am able,
– as consistently as I am able,
– grounded in an acute awareness of my dependence on the Holy Spirit to equip me in mind, body and spirit, and to bless me with determination and stamina and resilience
1. Strive for competence and – ultimately, excellence – in everything I do,
– regardless of whether the work is directly related to ministry or whether the work is within a secular field.
– by not spreading myself so thin that I can’t come close to a standard of excellence or even achieve “good enough” status in one of my commitments, much less all of them.
2. Choose to speak edifying words – affirming progress as an indication of success, encouraging hope and motivating other people to strive for excellence – instead of
– expending time and effort calling (repeated and/or extended) attention to someone else’s shortcomings and mistakes.
– tearing people down.
And in the process of that striving and choosing, I find that
~ I’m letting go of the white-knuckled grip I have on my right to choose and I’m allowing myself to be conformed (by the Holy Spirit – not only by my own efforts) into the image of the son of God, Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29),
~ I’m being a good steward of the gifts and talents God has blessed me with, (Matthew 25:14-30) and
~ I’m tangibly expressing genuine gratitude to God, for the countless blessings in this abundant life I’m living with Him – regardless of my circumstances. (Colossians 3:17)
I know I’m not the only follower of Jesus who is striving for excellence, extending grace, being conformed, being a good steward and expressing gratitude. My prayer is that every time a Christian hunter, or even just a non-believer, encounters one of us Jesus Freaks, the “with all our hearts” serves as a strong, positive evidence for authentic faith in Jesus Christ.