Your Dead-Level Best

by Bill Denton

"Remember that average' is simply the best of the poorest and the poorest of the best' (Croft M. Pentz in The Complete Book of Zingers)

The Army recruits soldiers with the challenge, "Be the best that you can be." Corporations scour through applications from recent college graduates to find the brightest and most talented for their new-hire lists. Both college and professional sports teams have rigorous tryouts to identify the athletes with the greatest physical skills, mental sharpness, and athletic talent to fill their team rosters. The last time I checked, the whole idea behind terms like "expert," "champion," and "success," was that the people identified by those terms are not common or ordinary, but they are uncommon, extraordinary, and competent people. Business, academia, sports, and the military all seek to utilize those people who are the best at whatever they do.

It's disappointing how many people settle for "average." Back when I was a kid, there was an idea floating around the school house that people who got "Cs" on their report cards were just "average" people, and such grades were completely acceptable. I'd agree if we were talking about a person working to his full potential. If the best a person can do is a "C" then it is, indeed, just fine. But this is not the case with most "average" people. The truth is that most of us operate on a level well below our ability.

Christians need to rethink this whole idea. Someone once said that the Ten Commandments were like a test: Get eight out of ten and you've done better than most! Grade-wise, that might come to about a "C." You think God is pleased with that? We're not much better with the New Covenant of Christ. Too many of us would just like to know the acceptable number of assemblies we need to attend to slide by. We only want to serve or sacrifice where we're still comfortable.

Can you imagine an "average" sacrifice? It conjures up the old story of the traveling chicken and her partner the pig. They were in a crowd being asked for offerings for a great cause, and everyone around them was putting money into the offering. But neither the chicken nor the pig had any money-nor even wallets to carry it in. They felt terrible about being unable to contribute, until the chicken thought of something: "We could help feed the hungry with bacon and eggs," she exclaimed. The pig looked at her dourly and replied, "Well, for you it's a contribution, but for me it's a total commitment!"

The honest truth is that the Lord expects and desires better from us. We are the ones who ought to lead exemplary lives, reach our greatest potential, serve with dedication and energy, sacrifice for higher things, and show the world what God can do with human lives.

What are you doing, and how are you doing it? Are you the best you can be? Why not?

© Copyright 2003, Dr. Bill Denton

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

<![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]>

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad