Thursday, August 20, 2015

Living Lesson: The Plight of Performance

Living Lessons: The Plight of Performance
By: Christopher Wiles
    Our Wednesday Night Meals have been a lot of fun over the summer.  We've enjoyed good food, good fellowship, and good encouragement from various church members focused on the fruit of the Spirit.  Different people have tried their hands planning the meals with a lot of success.  Last night was the men's night, which featured Bill Dawson and Scott Schnarr's impressive grilling skills, but those skills led to a problem.
     The men were given the highest compliment possible when the women said, "You guys should be in charge of the menu every week!"  What followed soon after were man rumblings such as, "Uh oh!  Maybe we should NOT have done such a good job!"
     I'll be the first to admit, over the years my wife has grown to be 100 times better at planning meals and cooking than I am.  I found that out two years ago when I committed to planning the meals every single Friday for our family.  The result was that I produced some awesome meals . . . about once every three months.  Many of the others turned into, "What new and unhealthy topping can I add to make these pancakes seem different from last week?"  My cooking skills fit better with the old country song lyrics, "I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever once."  Yup, I'm good for a meal every now and then, but on a regular basis, my wife is hands down better than me.   
     Which leads to the dilemma at hand, which is a problem many Christians struggle with in many facets of life.  Do we UNDER perform so that we aren't asked to take more responsibility than we can handle.  Seriously, I know people who take this approach.  Don't want to do something to help your husband at his job?  Just intentionally mess it up by "accidentally" wiping his email server and you won't get asked to help again.  Don't want to have to clean the house?  Do such a poor job washing windows that your wife takes the broom (why were you washing windows with a broom?) from your hand and escorts you out of the house in disgust.  Don't want to speak at church?  Just throw in some passing comments about your intention to handle snakes and it's guaranteed you won't be asked to clip on that lapel mic again. 
    To answer our question, let's consult what the Spirit inspired Paul  to say about the effort we put into our daily activities.   "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters." (Colossians 3:23)   Ouch, maybe our intentional ineptitude doesn't quite fit with Paul's ideas.  Could it be that cooking food, cleaning house, and managing emails could be work done for the Lord instead of human masters?  You better believe it.  Wise old Solomon said much the same in Ecclesiastes 9:10, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom."
    The answer is a resounding NO.  Christians, we do not intentionally "tank" anything.  For every effort, work as to the Lord, knowing that you may not have that chance again this side of the grave.  Do your best in everything you can.  Oh, and when the church ladies say, "Maybe you should plan the meals every  week", you can quote the best excuses of the Bible by saying, "I now have a wife, so I can't come," (Luke 14:20) (and potentially get slapped) or simply and graciously be man enough to say, "Thanks for the compliment, but I just can't."

Upcoming Wednesday Meal:  Our last meal will be a Fish Fry with hush puppies at 6:30pm, with family devotionals/kids classes to follow.  Feel free to bring a side item, drink, or dessert.  We hope you can make it!