Monday, January 07, 2008

Give It All You Got

While Grant was working on his homework one day, he wondered out loud how to spell "squirrel". In the same breath he decided that it didn't really matter. I was prone to agree but stopped myself. I was also tempted to just tell him being the master speller that I am. Instead I told him to go look it up on the e-dictionary. He didn't think it would be a big deal to spell it wrong and he was probably right, but the bigger lesson I wanted him to learn was that it is important to do our best and strive for excellence. Why? Because it's an important key to success in life. Teachers and college profs and employers want students and employees that go the extra mile to do their work at a high level.

But even more importantly it comes in handy in life and ministry. I shudder to think about the many times I have just done what is needed to get by. I've done it in parenting, in my marriage, in friendships and in ministry. As we seek to bring Christ glory in our lives, it is important for us to strive for excellence in all we do.

This fall I did another Beth Moore bible study. It was "The Patriarchs" which is based on Genesis and the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. By the way, it was a GREAT study. In one of her lessons she uses the term "Minimalist", which she defines as one who expends the least possible effort to achieve a desired goal. We have so much going in our lives that we can not give our best to everything. She reminds us that God values excellence.

So even though misspelling squirrel probably won't result in a bad grade and lead to flunking out of 3rd grade, it's a big lesson that reaches beyond the classroom. It's got to be something that they do because they realize God wants our best, not to be confused with perfection.

In everything I want my kids to learn, I have to search my own heart and life. Am I a "minimalist"?

A while ago I was making a meal for a family we know that had lost a loved one. I was mixing up a bunch of homemade stuff and wondered if it was worth all the time and energy. I could have just picked up a couple of frozen pizzas and it would have been a lot easier. But I desired to go the extra mile because this was one tangible way to show God's love to this family and I wanted them to know that His love is like Homemade Angel Food Cake, not store bought frozen pizza.

On the flip side, we've been the recipients of meals over the years. We've gotten some that seemed like a last minute obligation. It was still food that filled us up and that was appreciated. But when we had Maren, a lady in our church brought us a MEAL. There was so much good food, desserts, extra pantry items, and flavored coffee. She really went the extra mile and it was heartwarming.

It is nice to do all the extra stuff for others because they show their appreciation, but what about my own family? Am I doing my best to show them God's love and mine by the thought I put into the food I put on the table and the way I deal with stuff around the house? It doesn't take being a super chef to give a meal served with love to your family! Or to make sure their favorite clothes are clean or the coffee pot is washed and ready in the morning. Maybe it's staying up late to get something done when you'd rather be in bed or watching TV. Sometimes it might be playing that I'm Sully and Annie is Boo (she loves Monster's, Inc.) or listening to a long story about video games that I know nothing about, instead of getting my stuff done.

Christ's love for me compels the extra effort. It makes me desire to do my best because he gave his best for me.

1 comment:

Bonny said...

Hi Michelle!! Christy linked me here :-)

We've been the recipient of many such blessings -- thanks for the sweet reminder.