Excellence, A Hallmark of Christianity, Part 2

(Continued from yesterday.)

I decided to “head on back” to my desk, and start again. Surely, I could re-write it. I did. In fact, I spent about 30 minutes re-writing this production permit, not up to my former workmate’s standards, but, this time, up to the standards which I felt were in keeping with God’s standards. I kept “working at it, patiently,” until I had peace from God. Several thoughts went through my mind as I was working on that production permit.

1. By re-wording the document, and doing a quality job like I should have the first time (before I procured the first signature), I was demonstrating an attitude of excellence in my work. People could get to know me as a person of excellence, and that could reflect how they thought of me, and my testimony, of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2. By not “surrendering” to the will of my non-Christian co-worker, and speedily “rushing” the release of the production permit, I was refusing to “buy into” the world’s way of doing things. I was making a “clear-cut contrast” between me and the world, between Christians and non-Christians. Remember, God said, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 5:10). God’s will, as revealed in the Bible, was that the “sheep” (believers) should be separated from the “goats” (non-believers). There was to be a “clear-cut” distinction between the holy and the profane, between the righteous and the unrighteous, between believers and non-believers. This was God’s will. This was God’s command (throughout the Bible). I was to take this as an opportunity to indicate my “clear-cut” distinction! Praise God! Opportunities like this did not come along every day!

After I re-wrote that document, a new courage came upon me. Remember, the first time when my two co-workers had “botched it up” (like I myself had “botched up” the wording of the document), I had felt timid and afraid. I did not have the courage to ask them to ‘re-do’ it. Perhaps that was because God’s Spirit refused to work in a man who himself was not going to be “perfect”. Thus, it was, that I was “sent back” to the drawing board to do it again. But after I did it again, I felt, “Ah … now this is something that sets me apart. While others normally scribble down the contents of a production permit, I have filled it in properly, so that when people look at it, they will say, ‘There is a distinction!'” Proudly (in the right sense), I was able to “head on back” to those same people, and ask them if they could please sign it again.

Was my heart affected by my outward performance? Yes, I think you can see that it was. When I performed poorly, I was afraid to go back and ask my co-workers to “make right” what they had done wrong (the incorrect dates). I was afraid, because I myself had not lived up to God’s righteous standards — I had proceeded too quickly. When God was saying, “Do it well, do it right, do it properly,” I was saying, “I had better hurry, because my non-Christian friend wants it done quickly”. But when I “went back” and did things as I was supposed to, a new courage and boldness came upon me. I was literally different … a new man … with a new spirit that came over me. Truly, this was the Holy Spirit at work in one of His (now obedient) children. Praise God! (I need to have experiences like that everyday … I need to live in that realm on a moment-by-moment basis. So do we all.)

May God bless you as you read these things and put them into practice. I trust that this has helped you to better understand what Jesus meant when he said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). He was, yes, referring to our need to be merciful, and have a change in heart attitude towards people, as opposed to the scribes and Pharisees who normally did everything for “show”. But as an extension of this, and by way of application, I trust you can see from this article that “being perfect” in outward performance does and can have its bearing upon our heart attitude, and that the two, really, do work together sometimes in the most intimate of manners. Thus, a man who does his work well will have a sense of confidence that he wouldn’t have otherwise had. I know. I’ve been there. And from now on, I’m going to try and be more careful about “not being swayed” by what others think of me.

“Be perfect, therefore, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)