Many years ago I was in a hotel in Laughlin, Nevada for a dance competition with my two daughters (since you asked, tap, ballet, and jazz, them not me). We spent two days at this competition and the event was held in a large ballroom with a stage in one corner. The judge’s table was located on the stage and the dancers performed on a dance floor facing them.
The first year we attended they had a sound system that had not been updated since the hotel was built in the early 1970′s. All the tracks were on cassette (if your kids were in dance, you know this was not unusual) and every song, every song was distorted.
On this visit we found that they “upgraded” their system to four JBL EON powered speakers. These speakers were “mounted” with open end linked chain at a 95 degree up angle, across the front of the stage on the PROSCENIUM lighting pipe. This “new” system sounded better than the “old” system. Not good, just better.
Church is often like this. There are systems out there that don’t sound good, they just sound better. There are programs that aren’t good, just better than they were a year ago. People often find it easy to settle. I believe we should be grateful no matter what, but I also believe that we should strive for excellence in everything. We have to stop settling.
Now I know that I will get lots of comments about resources and stewardship, so comment and I will post them. Tell me how, at your resource level, you strive for excellence. (Check out Mike Sessler’s post on it.) Now a good friend of mine reminded me that it is easy to make “excellence” itself a god. So be clear that I am not talking about excellence for excellence sake.
“….And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” Colossians 3:22b-24 (The Message)
I know that what is GOOD is sometimes in the eye or ears of the beholder. To some, Willie Nelson is both the best and worst singer in the world (or insert your own choice, Bob Dylan, Bruno Mars). Willie Nelson concerts to some “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” but even if you don’t like his music, he does his craft with excellence.
We need to be constantly striving to do the best job we can with the systems and resources we have. We shouldn’t expect God to bless us with better if we are not doing the best we can with what he has already given. Now I know that in tech we are not always in control of the content and talent we have to amplify and support, but we should always do our best and know we are not responsible for the things that are out of our control.
Now, that doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes. We all make mistakes. (….yeah, that wasn’t the right scene to bring up and why is the walk in music playing?) I am talking about a life style that we can set as a goal, a place we would like to be. An attitude of giving the best we have, while giving grace to others as they do the same (and even if they don’t).
We’re not perfect beings, that’s why we need Jesus, but we can all strive for excellence in every situation.