Excellence trumpets talent, genius and knowledge, all rather empty without a persistent attitude to achieve our best every moment of our lives. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
We all have those rare moments when the mundane disappears and a sense of excellence covers us. You know these moments because they feel different. Life flows better and more smoothly and the results of what you’re attempting to do come more easily. When these moments subside we reflect to ourselves, commenting how well that went, fervently wishing that things would always go so well. I recently experienced this for the briefest of moments as I was driving on the freeway. I needed to make a lane change, so I did a mirror check to scout for traffic on my left. I followed that with a rare shoulder check, something I was taught to do in Driver’s Education decades ago but seldom employ persistently. In this case, one of those rare moments, I did. In so doing I caught a glimpse of a motorcycle in the blindest of blind spots, which fortunately delayed my lane change. When I finally did swing over to my left I sensed the feeling of “well done faithful servant.” But was it? It also occurred to me in the moment that the success of the moment was due less to me and more to a divine intervention. I should have been making those shoulder checks all along as taught. What was missing was a sense of persistence in driving as I was taught to drive.
The worst thing I could have done in that moment was to pat myself on the back and chalk my success up to good driving. God was driving my Honda at the time, not me. However, it’s not his will to incessantly remind us of how to live our lives and do all things with a sense of ethic and excellence. We need to be persistent in these, not pushing them into rare moments. Excellence trumpets talent, genius and knowledge, all rather empty without a persistent attitude of achievement throughout life.
Here’s a thought from perhaps my favorite president, Calvin Coolidge. “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. (Calvin Coolidge.)
The Bible teaches that we should “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” When Paul laid this challenge down he wasn’t referencing a rare moment when by inspiration and divine touching Christians would reach out with the Good News of the Gospel and pour out truth of salvation on the human race. If so, it would be just a sense of timing, of looking carefully over the shoulder of faith and making the right move when inspiration took hold of us to do so. If we look at our personal ministry thusly we will always be reaching back to some teaching or instruction we received once, finding the inspiration for the moment, and acting. Ministry practiced this way is all about our talent, genius and knowledge; it’s about us. Without a persistent attitude of ministry as a matter of course and not of the rare moment, we may find God unwilling to continue to tap us on the shoulder to get us to look around and see the work that needs to be done everywhere, all the time. The time may come when he no longer sees fruitful ground here and we’ll be left to a life of vanishing moments. We need to strive to make those rare moments of excellent spiritual driving the norm and not the exception.
We pray. Thank you Lord for intervening in our lives to remind us that as disciples we need to lead consistent lives, persistent in our knowledge of the Word and in the benefit of our faith. Forgive us Lord, when we drive our lives spiritually always waiting for moments of inspiration that are fleeting and may soon not come at all. Make us disciples living those rare moments of spiritual excellence as a matter of course and not in rare moments. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)
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