Not every one gets to do the job they feel they are ultimately called to do.
Even those who do, do not always do so all the time. This is one of the shortcomings of looking solely to one’s calling to find meaning in one’s work.
Moses was a shepherd before he was a deliverer, Joseph a prison trustee before he was a ruler, and Nehemiah a cupbearer before he was a contractor. Yet no one would argue Moses was ultimately called to be a shepherd, nor Joseph a jailer, nor Nehemiah a cupbearer.
One of my summer jobs between my first and second year of law school was working for a telemarketing firm selling the New York Times. There was no uncertainty in my mind; I was not called to ultimately be a telemarketer. I wanted to be a lawyer.
Growing up in a religious culture can cause us to become inoculated to the meaning of certain religious words, especially if the words are used more in a religious context than in non-religious ones. “Glorify” is one of those words. It’s easy to gloss over the word and miss the full significance of the word.
Dictionary.com defines “glorify” as:
to cause to be or treat as being more splendid, excellent, etc., than would normally be considered.
to honor with praise, admiration, or worship; extol.
to make glorious; invest with glory.
to praise the glory of (God), especially as an act of worship.
In John 8, the scribes and Pharisees bring Jesus a woman caught in adultery.
The scribes and pharisees did this to attempt to trap Jesus. (v. 6)
It’s a trap because the penalty for adultery under the Old Testament law was death, but if Jesus agreed to impose the death penalty, He would get crossways with the Romans, who alone reserved the right to impose the death penalty.
If Jesus showed mercy and didn’t apply the Old Testament law, then the scribes and Pharisees would have grounds for accusing Jesus before the Jews of not following Old Testament law.
Jesus’s response to this conundrum demonstrates He knew the law much better than those who attempted to trap Him: ““He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (v. 7). It is easy to read this too quickly as Jesus abrogating or superseding the law with mercy, but I do not believe that is what is happening here. Continue reading “Jesus’ Work-Related Excellence”
John, the disciple of Jesus, recounts Jesus’ first miracle.
It happened at a wedding reception. They wedding party had run out of wine.
Jesus finds out and asks the servants to fill six thirty gallons jars with water.
Then Jesus tells them to draw some out and take it to the headwaiter.
The headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, and not knowing from where it had come, takes the bridegroom aside and says, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much wine to drink; but you have kept the best until now.” See John 2:1-10.
I don’t think I’m alone. There is something in our nature that is drawn to excellence.
Marketing firms recognize this. That is why, for example, the best athletes get the best endorsement deals.
Have you ever considered why we value excellence over mediocrity? It is so intuitive it seems silly to ask the question.
I believe it is intuitive because, as image-bearers of the Creator, the desire for excellence is imprinted on our souls. Notwithstanding the corrupting influence of the Fall of Man, the echoes of the image of God can still be heard in our hearts. Continue reading “Why Excellence Matters”