04 November, 2012

Excellence in your day-to-day job

In preparing for yesterday's Japan Harvest magazine planning meeting, I was looking for some inspiration along the lines of Christians striving for excellence. I came across this blog post. It is a tad lengthy, from my perspective, but the author makes these good points:
  • excellence is a Biblical virtue that Christians should pursue at all times
  • striving towards doing the best we can, can have a stunning results
  • pride and burnouts are downsides of striving for excellence
  • striving for excellence requires discernment: it is better to go for 100% effort at a few things than 70% at many
  • excellence is a direction, not a destination. Excellence should become a habit, rather than a goal.
I didn't expound on these points at our meeting, but I did start with Colossians 3:23-24, which I think is an excellent verse to ponder as we think about starting another week of work.
"What ever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” NIV
I feel this is especially relevant to a job like a magazine editor, who can feel torn between lots of "human masters". Decisions we make are pretty visible to the readers of the magazine. And especially in a missionary community, where most people have strong opinions. If we keep our eyes on our Lord, however, that will help us keep our perspective.


simone r said...

Hey Wendy.

I'm not sure I agree with that article you linked to.

"From a Biblical perspective, excellence is a virtue and we should pursue it at all times."

He quotes 1 Cor 10.31 - which is about whether or not we eat food sacrificed to idols "Whatever you do, do it to the glory of God." and Col 3 - the slaves and masters passage that you also quote - which I think is about working hard more than pursuing excellence.

I wonder if faithfulness is is the virtue and not excellence - we are to work faithfully in the field God has placed us - it's broader than pursuing excellence.


Wendy said...

Thanks for dropping by Simone.

Yeah. I stopped short at quoting him on that one. Excellence is not described as a virtue in the Bible, as far as I can tell. My small amount of research reveals that the Greek word translated "virtue" means any excellence of a person or a thing. The Hebrew word relates more to moral worth.

It isn't a well written article, actually. It is long and rambling and his conclusion is just confusing.

We are definitely called to faithfulness to use the gifts that God has given us. I think the excellence comes in in the sense that we're to not just use the gifts we've been given, but to do the best job we can with what we've been given (Parable of the talents). However, I don't think that's something we can call a virtue.

Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts said...

Definitely some food for thought... Since moving here, I've had 2 big doors "career-wise" back in Australia close in my face. And He seems to have thrown open another window that is growing in size every day. I'm kind of fighting it, not sure that something I love so much and is a hobby, is something He would actually bless me in. Maybe He is...