…. it is a wretched taste to be gratified with mediocrity when the excellent lies before us.
--Isaac D’Israeli, 1834
People tend to approach life in one of two ways. Either thinking that the best years are behind them or that the best years are before them. This is especially true as people age. Many folk as they hit middle age look back on their “glory years” with nostalgia. And since they think the best years have already come and gone, they become “gratified with mediocrity,” just willing to coast through life, maintaining as much comfort as they can. This kind of thinking doesn’t just happen within older people. Benjamin Franklin said something like this, “Most people die when they’re 25, they just don’t get buried for another 30 or 40 years.” We need not think that our best years are behind us regardless our age. A new year brings new possibilities for the excellent.
Excellence is never achieved through comfort.
In a couple of weeks, we will begin a relationship building study based on the movie “Fireproof.” While this is directed primarily for married couples, anyone who has any kind of relationship with other people (and who doesn’t?) will benefit from it. Excellent relationships don’t happen by doing what is comfortable.
On January 11, our congregation is hosting a Ministry Fair to give everyone a sample of the types of ministries we are involved with. Excellent ministries require the service of those who aren’t willing to coast and to do just enough to get by.
Many people have made New Year’s resolutions soon, but few will follow through with them because changing habits is uncomfortable. Julie and I were invited to a New Year’s party last year While there, we were asked to write a resolution and turn it in. I don’t recall what I wrote, but I suspicion that I didn’t do a good job in keeping it.
During the first week in January, Julie and I are attending a “Creative Ministry” conference in Orlando. One day of the conference is spent studying at Disney World. Julie couldn’t understand why I wanted to attend since I hate to fly, I don’t like amusement parks, and waiting in lines with crowds of people drives me crazy. Why would I do so many things I find uncomfortable? Because I want to have an excellent, creative ministry.
I believe with the right motivation, we all can do those things which lead to excellence. Let’s resolve together to make 2009 the year when we aren’t satisfied with the wretched taste of mediocrity. This new year can be the best one yet with God by our side.