I guess I’m not as smart as Robert Fulghum, because I didn’t learn everything I needed to know in Kindergarten (All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten) but, I’ve learned an awful lot since. One of the things I’ve learned is: “When all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.” Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, said, “Emotion is no substitute for action and action is no substitute for production.” Talk is cheap and it seems to me that it’s getting cheaper all the time.
It reminds me of the man who said he had learned to speak French, except for the verbs. You can’t speak any language without verbs, nor can you allow Jesus to live his life through you without action verbs. We’re all aware of the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount, but today let’s consider some ”Do-attitudes”. I suggest three of them:
In the first place, whatever you DO, do it with excellence. A number of years ago, Tom Peters lifted the word excellence to a new level of awareness in the business realm with the publication of his best seller, “In Search of Excellence.” We could use a good shot of excellence in the Church as well. There’s an awful lot of incompetence and pure sloppiness in the work of Christ, and I believe that it’s due to one of two reasons. Either we are trying to do too much, or we are trying to do things for which we are not well fitted and gifted. In my own life I find that when I contemplate what I could do, eliminate what I shouldn’t do, and then concentrate on what I am gifted and passionate to do, my level of excellence improves dramatically.
For me being excellence has a matter of prioritizing my tasks and pacing myself. After He had healed a man, people said of the Lord Jesus in Mark 7:37, that “He has done everything well.” I would like that to be said about what I do. Doing the best you can rarely means doing all you can and it never means doing more than you can do well.”
Secondly, whatever you DO, do it with enthusiasm. John Maxwell tells the story of being in a small plane with a pilot friend and noticing the attitude indicator. Not understanding how an aircraft could have an attitude, he questioned the pilot and got an education in life. Yes, a plane does have an attitude. It is the aircraft’s position in relation to the horizon. When the nose is pointed up, it’s called a nose up attitude and when the nose is pointed down, it’s called a nose down attitude.
The attitude of the plane directly affects the performance of the plane. So it is in life. Nose down: negative, critical, pessimistic; or nose up: positive, encouraging, enthusiastic.
Do what you do with a nose up/enthusiastic attitude and the performance of whatever you do will be dramatically affected for the better. Those who do their best and accomplish the most in life invariably possess this contagious characteristic of enthusiasm. Paul’s advice to the Colossian believers is as relevant and essential today as it was when he first wrote it, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” Col. 3:23 (ESV)
Finally, whatever you DO, do it with integrity. We have heard a lot lately in political and religious circles about a lack of financial and sexual integrity. The late Chuck Colson when asked at a speaking engagement in Chicago what he thought were the three most important characteristics of a successful leader responded, Integrity…Integrity…Integrity. Integrity means, among other things, doing what you said you would do when you said you would do it. There are only two responses to an assigned task or responsibility: performance or excuses. Over my 44 years of vocational ministry, I have seen a lot more excuses than performances.
The landscape of promise is strewn with “Yes, buts!” Don’t promise more than you can deliver and then deliver without excuses! God places a higher value on our character than on our comfort or convenience. There is a little phrase in Psalm 15:4 (Living) that bears this out and speaks well to the issue of being good for your word…a person of integrity. “…keeps a promise even if it ruins him.”
So, join me in a renewed commitment to practice the DO-ATTITUDES of excellence, enthusiasm and integrity. Along with Nike, I say to all of us, JUST DO IT; as we are led by him, empowered by him and honor him!