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Live for more than the ordinary impact of an ordinary witness.
Pray for what you need so you can live for God's extraordinary purpose.
 


EXCELLENT, BUT NOT PERFECT
 
Personal excellence.  It's a vague term that could imply high achievement, status, recognition. It suggests a sense of pride, even superiority. But of all the standards that are used to measure a tentmaker's performance, none are as high as God's ideal for His representatives, because what He envisions for us reaches "higher than the highest human thought can reach" (Desire of Ages, p. 311).  

Personal excellence, according to the One who has called us, is about character:  Our integrity in a corrupt world.  Our faithfulness when unnoticed and unrecognized.  Our accountability to others and to God. Our desire to improve our service. Our willingness to make high investments and reach heaven's highest goals for us.  Our commitment to represent Christ and His excellence in all things.

None of us is perfect.  But we can be perfectly surrendered to the presence of Jesus Christ and His performance in our life. He promises to refine our tastes, sanctify our judgment, purify and ennoble our thoughts and bring us into captivity to Himself (Desire of Ages, p. 311).  That's a high standard.

Our lives may not always be praised by the world, but we can be witness to what heaven values.  We can represent the excellence God's grace offers to weak, limited human beings--a character like His.



THE MEASURE OF REPUTATION

I remember the business meeting very well.  My colleagues and I had set it up at the embassy of my host country.  The service organization I was working for had developed a large portfolio of projects throughout the country, and I was hoping to build relationships with one of our major supporters. 

We were waiting for the meeting when the officer we were scheduled to meet abruptly entered the room.  He was outspoken, intimidating.  For no reason I could determine, he began telling us the story of how he had rejected Christianity for the faith of our host country.  His account was abrasive, even hostile at times.

When it came time to do business, we gathered in a nearby room.  Unexpectedly, his tone changed as he turned to me, “You know why I like you and your organization?” he asked.  Uncertain what his reason might be, I waited to let him explain.  “I‘m retired and was asked to cover this post for a transitionary period, but several years ago I was here and I observed the excellent work that you did.”  He continued, “In every duty station that I have been since then, I have spoken highly about you.”

I left a very fruitful meeting that day with an agreement in hand and a request to submit a proposal for another project.  I felt good.

Immediately our team began developing a new proposal.  From the very beginning the process was less than ideal. The proposal was rushed.  We did not follow a proper quality assurance process. It was mistakenly submitted before proper approval was given. The timing couldn’t have been worse.
 
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THE HIGHEST STANDARD


"Those who consecrate body, soul, and spirit to God, will constantly receive a new endowment of physical, mental, and spiritual power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own Spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth His highest energies to work in heart and mind. The grace of God enlarges and multiplies their faculties, and every perfection of the divine nature comes to their assistance in the work of saving souls. Through co-operation with Christ, they are made complete in Him, and in their human weakness they are enabled to do the deeds of Omnipotence.

The Redeemer will not accept divided service. Daily the worker for God must learn the meaning of self-surrender. He must study the word of God, learning its meaning and obeying its precepts. Thus he may reach
the standard of Christian excellence. Day by day God works with him, perfecting the character that is to stand in the time of final test. And day by day the believer is working out before men and angels a sublime experiment, showing what the gospel can do for fallen human beings."  

                                                                          --Ellen White in Gospel Workers, page 113.

 


  CARING FOR A KING

Service excellence may be a recent corporate byword, but there’s nothing new about high-quality, committed job performance.  It was November 1935 when officials from Amman, Jordan, arrived at the Seventh-day Adventist mission in Jerusalem with an appeal for help.
 
Her Majesty Queen Mother Zein’s newborn son, who would become King Hussein I of Jordan (1935-1999), was not thriving. Could someone help? Dorothea  Boyd, who had lived in the region most of her life and had taken nursing at American University in Beirut, Lebanon, accepted the challenge.

As she used to tell the story, “I ordered the doctor away and cared for the baby until he was 17 months old.  I refused to give him some of the medicines prescribed because I believed they were harmful.  I even made carrot juice and grape juice for him to help assure [he had] a proper diet.” 

   

Little Hussein at six years old with his mother.

Thea, as the royal family called her, invested everything she knew and all her time in little Hussein.  “He was a good boy, a very happy child,” she recalled years later.  “He liked to have me sing to him. . . . We used to go for long walks early in the morning before it got too warm.  And, oh yes, the cookie jar.  He liked to get into that too!”

He forged a strong relationship with Adventist archaelogists working in Jordan.  Decades later, he honored Dorothea in a state-level visit to Jordan as the royal family’s personal guest.   Because of the influence of his childhood nurse and the relationships that grew out of that bond, he could write that they “have left us with an excellent impression . . . that can only strengthen the already firm ties between our two peoples.”

Her contribution was simple—caring for a sick baby.  But she did it using all her best tools, and she gave it her best efforts.  Years later the King would look kindly on the chance at life she gave him.  
Certainly Dorothea never intended to leave a mark on Jordan’s national life or to shape generations of Seventh-day Adventists working and living in Jordan.  She was just doing her best, giving her best.  

Simple, daily faithfulness is the raw material of our lives that God needs in order to extend His influence in a world who doesn't know Him.  


Courtesy of Columbia Union Visitor, Dec. 1, 1974


 


A HIGH PURPOSE
 

 
All the varied capabilities that men possess
of mind and soul and body
are given them by God
to be so employed as to reach
the highest possible degree of excellence.

Every faculty, every attribute,
with which the Creator has endowed us
is to be employed for His glory
and for the uplifting of our fellow men.



Ellen White in Patriarchs & Prophets, page 595
 


WORKPLACE PERFORMANCE
(according to Scripture)

 

When your work performance is shaped by character and not by personal recognition, the impact you have is nothing less than the Holy Spirit of God working through you. You become an expression of what He is like, a demonstration of how He works. Your on-the-job excellence becomes on-the-job witness of Him.

Biblical workplace practices may not be common where you work.  But the rarity of what heaven values is what recommends God to the world around you.   

Be the servant.
"But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.  It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,  and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.'”   Matthew 20:25-28

Care for the details.
"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much." Luke 16:10

Be willing to be different for God.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."  Romans 12:2   

Be wise with your opportunities.
"Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity."  Colossians 4:5  

Glorify God.
"Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation." 1 Peter 2:12   MORE

* * *
more complete list of texts that describe biblical business practices has been compiled
by Dr. Michael Cafferky, author of Management: A Faith-Based Perspective.  

 For a discussion of a Christian approach to management in the workplace,
listen to an
interview with Dr. Michael Cafferky about integrating Christian faith in business.


 

TRUSTWORTHY and FAITHFUL

What qualities come to mind when you think of a worker who demonstrates personal excellence?  High achievement?  Status?  Giftedness?  A Total Employment tentmaker offers a perspective on what excellence means, what it's made of, and how it can be measured.    VIEW
 
 
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“I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate My righteousness.
I will take you by the hand and guard you, . . . and you will be a light to guide the nations.
Isaiah 42:6


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