Where it Begins
I have been thinking a lot about excellence the last couple of days and what it takes to step out of the ordinary into excellence. I should point out that this is not born of original thought. It has actually been a topic of discussion in the Tuesday morning prayer meeting that the pastors in my church participate in. We meet weekly to discuss things that keep us up at night. Our discussion lately has been how do you disciple someone that you may only see once every six weeks? In that same thread; How do you drive people out of mediocrity and into excellence? That one has really hit a nerve with me. I have never been one to settle for good enough.
Black and White Thinking
I, like most addicts that I know, am an extremist. I have never done anything in my life halfway. I do everything that I do to the best of my ability, good or bad. When I am good I am really good, and when I am bad I am really bad. Now I should say that this is not a great school of thought. It is actually what is known as a thinking error called “Black and White Thinking.” Black and White Thinking says that I have to do it perfectly or not at all. The problem here is that if something is hard the Black and White Thinker won’t even try because they might fail to do it perfectly. Let me give you an example. Say I find employment washing cars and this is something I can do really well. Someone comes along that recognizes my talent and offers me a new opportunity training others to wash cars as well as I can. The Black and White Thinker will most likely turn down the opportunity for advancement because of an underlying fear of failure. He will think something along the lines of I am doing this so well that other people have taken notice and acknowledge my work, so why give this up. He will not step out into the unknown, step toward excellence because this is good enough.
So I have been thinking, a lot, about what it takes to be excellent and not settle for good enough. I got sucked into the YouTube rabbit hole this morning and ended up watching an interview with Mike Rowe. Everyone knows Mike. He is the Dirty Jobs guy. I have never heard anyone say anything negative about Mike. I’m sure there are people out there that don’t care for him, just none that I know. Anyone in the public spotlight that speaks his mind and has the confidence to tell it like it is will most certainly trigger some delicate snowflake and fall prey to scrutiny, just not from the people I associate with because I too speak my mind and am not afraid to tell it like it is. He was talking about what made Dirty Jobs as popular as it was and he attributed it largely to authenticity. Dirty Jobs ran 300 shows and so Mike had 300 jobs while the show was on the air. Never did he pretend to be an expert at any of them and never did he pretend like he knew what he was doing. He was genuine and authentic in every situation. If he was disgusted, you saw that. If he was afraid, you saw that. If he was confused you saw that. He was as genuine in each situation as he could possibly be and that authenticity was very attractive. I realized that something that is truly excellent is authentic.
I’m real 💯💯💯
You may have seen the person on social media that likes to tell you how real they are. They say things like “Keepin it 💯” They will regularly let you know just how real they are and dog those people they consider to be fake. Let me just say that the fakest people I know are the ones that have to constantly tell you how real they are. They are trying to sell you a big ole steamy pile 💩 and want you to believe it is the most epic caramel cappuccino ice cream 🍨 money can buy. Just keepin it 💯. If someone is really real, genuine, authentic, they certainly do not have to convince you or anyone else of that fact. They simply are and you know that they are. They don’t have to sell you on it, frfr. Fake people know they are full of it and they are driven by a very real fear that other people know how fake they really are as well. They swear oaths without thought of consequence or repercussion and that have no meaning because the value of oaths has lost its significance. They have no idea the consequence of breaking an oath.
On My Kids!
Somewhere along the way, we have lost the true value of swearing oaths. People are called to testify, they swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and then lie like dogs on the stand; usually without consequence. There was a time when a person’s word meant something. A man’s word was his bond. Oaths were unbreakable and the consequence of being an oathbreaker was severe. If a person were to swear to God they did so with the understanding that if they were lying or they broke their oath then may God strike them dead and condemn their soul for all of eternity. If they were to swear by their children, mother, ox, or on all that they love then it was understood that if they were to break that oath then God would immediately strike dead whatever or whoever it was that they swore by to be condemned for all eternity. When people swore an oath they truly believed that to break that oath would bring down upon them a judgment so severe that there was absolutely no way they would risk that which was sworn by to break it. Thankfully, God doesn’t hold us to our empty promises and meaningless oaths or this world would be deep in tragedy and the populations would almost certainly be non-existent. However, because God can look past our folly and doesn’t hold us to empty promises, the oath has become as worthless as the word of the one who gives it.
Let Your Word Be Authentic
The Bible has a lot to say about swearing oaths. James gives some really good instruction on the subject in the fifth chapter of his letter “But most of all, my brothers and sisters, never take an oath, by heaven or earth or anything else. Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned.” James 5:12 NLT He goes on to say in verse 16″Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Basically, stop pretending! Stop pretending to have it all together. Stop trying to convince others that you are something, someone you’re not. Admit your faults, your flaws, your brokenness. Get broken and stay there because God can use that. Let others see your brokenness because that is authentic. That is most excellent because in our weakness the grace of God shines so brightly. Like the Apostle, Paul said, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2Cor 12:9
Real is letting people see just how messed up we all really are and especially how God can work through that. Real doesn’t have to convince anyone of how real it is. It just is. Be real. Be authentic. Let your yes be yes and you no be no and in doing so you will have achieved the first step towards excellence.
I plan to write much more on excellence in the coming weeks so stay tuned…
This is Pastor Tony, keepin it 💯 😂😂😂