With the death of Apple founder, Steve Jobs last week, there has been much in the way of commentary on his life and his impact. Much has been said about his innovative abilities, his leadership, his marketing abilities, etc. I confess that I am not an Apple user. I am one of those contrarians who has a PC and an Android. I do have an iPod which I like, but I have never been swept up in the Apple craze (which some of my friends simply do not understand). There is no particular reason for this. It's just the way it is.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Steve Jobs has changed the world in reference to technology, information, and how we go about our day. One thing that has always impressed me about the man was his dissatisfaction with his products as they were. For Jobs, good enough was never good enough. If you were satisfied with your current iPhone, Jobs wasn't satisfied with your satisfaction. It needed to be better.
For Christians, good enough should never be good enough. We must continue to evaluate our ministries, the ways we are doing things as individuals and as a community of faith. No matter how much everyone may love our Sunday worship, it can always be better. No matter how much people rave about Sunday school, there is more that can be done. We must pursue excellence in all things. We should pursue holiness to perfection, mission to more than completion, discipleship to the image of Christ, and love to the suffering of the cross. We must do whatever it takes to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Mediocrity is not an option.
For Christians, good enough should never be good enough.
I get this.
But there's also a problem. While many can make the rational distinction between "What I DO is not good enough" and "What I AM is not good enough," this can be a hard distinction to feel. Maintaining the productive tension of a clear, compelling and attractive vision (personally and corporately) and telling the truth about where I/we now stand, is hard work.
I have discovered over the last year that "truth telling" has become a serious deficit across the UM denomination both personally and corporately, which would make "excellence" a very challenging enterprise indeed.
We used to call this "confession," errr the most honest form of truth telling. Excellence could raise real confession to the point where we might actually admit what we offer the world might actually stink and certainly isn't "worth-y" of the One we say we "worship."
Truth telling is hard work, but it is necessary work.
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