In the past, I have been criticized for being over critical of things the church does. For not liking certain Christian radio stations or slogans like "Got Jesus" and writing about what I find disappointing about them.
And I confess, I do tend to be a critical person and am too sarcastic. But I read something last night in 1 Corinthians that made me feel like maybe being honest about where the church succeeds and where it fails is OK.
Here is what 1 Corinthians 14:12 says:
Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.
The second half of that sentence is what I want to focus on. It doesn't say, "try to be average in gifts that build up the church." It says, "excel." That literally means "to surpass, to do extremely well." That's a challenging word and it's what I want to do for the church.
I write as hard as I can when I write my blog. I've been guilty of cutting corners in the past but reading this verse lets me know that I can't do anything less than my best for the church. Not everyone has that same idea though.
My friend was the music director at one of the most successful churches in the country and he said that he often heard people say something was "good enough for the church." That is, it wasn't top notch or the best, but it didn't have to be, it was "just for church."
That's bogus. That doesn't excel or make God look like the amazing God he really is. And that's why when someone doesn't try hard I don't feel bad about writing a blog to ask, "Hey, why didn't you try hard?"
At the same time however, notice what we are to excel at is building up the church. I am not called to be really talented at tearing down the church. I am not called to be an expert at what the church does incorrectly. I am called to build her up. To be the very best at building up.
So that's the call today.