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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

Let's Be Excellent
Date Posted: March 26, 2005

You've probably heard the song " Romans 16:19". Maybe it's been chanted by your kids or you've attended a youth rally or church camp where it was sung. It basically quotes the verse (with a lot of silly motions and sound effects thrown in, which I will not attempt to duplicate here).

"Be excellent at what is good, be innocent of evil, and the God of peace will soon crush Satan underneath your feet."

God wants us to be excellent in all that we do. And he wants us to do everything for him. He expects the best. Why shouldn't he? He's God and he made things perfect. We're the ones who messed up the world, with a little prodding from Satan. (Sometimes very little.)

When I shop I want the sales staff to have a standard of excellence in regard to helping me find merchandise, knowing when I need help and when I want to be left alone, quickly checking out and packaging my purchases, and willingness to take back anything that doesn't work or that I change my mind about.

I don't want special treatment, but I'm the customer and I should be treated with excellence, right?

I expect the same at a restaurant. Even the McDonald's drive-up. You might think that's expecting a lot, but the reason I expect it is because I used to have that job, and I tried to work toward a standard of excellence.

I did my suggestive sales (You want fries with that?) to benefit the company. But I also worked hard to get the correct order for the customer, charge them the correct amount and see that they had it in their hand in the thirty second time limit our manager set for us.

This was often a challenge, as the guys working the "grill" did not always perform to the same standard of excellence.

And yes, thirty seconds is what I meant to say. The rule was thirty seconds from the time the order is taken until the customer has it in their hand. If they had a special order and we had to ask them to "pull up" and wait, it obviously took a bit longer. But on those occasions it still better be fast or they'd be getting a coupon for something free!

So when I take my kids through the drive-up now I would like be able to give my order one time, get charged the correct amount and drive home with the food my kids actually will eat. I have no delusions about a thirty second rule or even any expectations of polite smiles.

But even this whittled down version of excellence seems to elude the teenagers at the drive-up.

It apparently eluded Cain as well. In Genesis 4 we read that Abel made an offering to God from the best he had. But Cain, for whatever reason, didn't have a standard of excellence when it came to giving back to his Creator.

Look where it landed him! He murdered his brother, broke his parents' hearts and ended up in exile in someplace called Nod! God even put a mark on him so no one would kill him. Whether this was to protect Cain so he could live a long miserable life, or kept others from committing murder, I'm not sure.

Abel's standard of excellence got him killed. But he died honoring his Creator.

We don't know what God has in store for us. We may be persecuted for striving to be excellent before the Lord. But if we are excellent in what is good, great will be our reward!

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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