Wednesday, March 01, 2006

CrossTies Devotional Article For February 26, 2006

“Did My Best” Or “Just Got By”
By Bill Denton

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, (Colossians 3:23, NASB95)

If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.
          Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking to students at Barratt Junior High
          School in Philadelphia on October 26, 1967

Too many people are guilty of the “just-get-by” syndrome.  Students in school are often more concerned with a passing grade rather than learning all they can learn.  Some athletes just want to “get-by” instead of giving a stellar effort.  Business is plagued with people who demonstrate this attitude.  Don’t believe it?  Ask yourself why customer service is so frequently less than acceptable.  Pay attention to the quality of the products you purchase.  Quality and service are two things that are worth the money.  The “just-get-by” syndrome is even found among Christians and may be the single biggest problem of the modern church.

The problem is often disguised in the questions people ask.  “How many times a week do I have to attend church services?” a lady once asked.  Now, I know people who fall into the trap of actually providing a number in answer to this question, but it is fraught with problems.  What if I told this lady, “You just have to attend once.”  Perhaps she would be satisfied, but more likely she would look for justification to occasionally miss even that one.  What if I said, “You have to attend three times.”  What do you think she would do if a fourth opportunity arose?  My point is that you can’t win at the number game with a person seeking the minimum.

The “just-get-by” syndrome shows up in attitudes about salvation.  “What must I do to be saved,” is sometimes a desire to know the bare minimum it takes to get to heaven.  It’s not really a question about what all one might do to serve God.  I’ve always thought the little story Jesus told about the three servants who were each given different “talents” or sums of money while the master left for a trip.  One got five talents, another got two, and the last got one.  The first two each went out, put the money to work and doubled what the master invested in them.  The last, fearful man that he was, buried his talent for safe-keeping.  When the master returned, both the first two servants were applauded and rewarded.  Only the last was condemned.  We usually focus on that last fellow and warn people not to be like him.  That’s a good lesson.  But, think about the first two for a moment.  These were obviously two men with differing abilities.  The master invested according to the ability of each man.  What both had in common was the desire to the best they could.  That’s what they did, and that’s what pleased the master.  Don’t “just-get-by.”  Do your best, whatever it is.  It may not be what someone else does, but is it your best?  As God’s people, let’s move toward doing all we can instead of just getting by.

© Copyright  2006, Dr. Bill DentonAll Rights Reserved.Articles may not be reprinted in any "for profit" publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles. Articles are sent originally to subscribers only. You may have received a forwarded or reprinted copy.
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