Strive for excellence at work, in everyday life

I’ve had a number of jobs over the years, some for many years, some for a shorter period of time. I’ve always felt I give 100 percent to every job I have, whether it is washing dishes (yes, I’ve done that) or running a million-dollar-a-week supermarket (I’ve done that, too). I’ve been called anal by co-workers, bosses and my peers.
That’s not such a bad thing.
One of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received came from a peer who told me he knew when he gave me instructions for his department while I was covering the store that I would get the job done – I always did.
Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
Your character, your work ethic gives praise to God, while you earn respect from those around you through your spirit of excellence.
It’s a deposit in the bank of grace.
Working hard and caring about everything you do with a passion is a hard road to bear and one full of bumps and stumbles over a life’s journey. Not everyone lives up to your expectations or standards and that … is another lesson to be learned with grace and dignity – probably the hardest.
What is excellence? It means doing the right thing, even when no one can see you. When you don’t expect praise from the boss for a job well done, yet know you did your very best and fulfilled your obligation. What you have done is give your word, so you must live up to it.
When you are hired into a position with a company, you give your word to work your hardest, to be honest and forthright, to go the extra yard with each task – to do what you get paid to do – completely.
When you fail at giving your best, sometimes it goes unseen or unmentioned by your supervisor, yet those who do not give their best are always seen by our heavenly father, who will judge us in the end.
The next time you are at work, examine your work habits, your motivation. Do you spend the day always putting your personal life ahead of your work? Do you make more personal phone calls than work-related calls? How much time do you spend on the Internet that has nothing to do with the job you were hired to perform? Do you find yourself telling a boss, a co-worker a lie to cover up your inadequacies?
If you answered yes to even one of these questions, you are dishonoring yourself, your boss, your co-workers and our creator.
Having the spirit of excellence means you look for new ways to grow. Whatever you do, you get better at it and you ask yourself, “How can I improve?”
Do you strive to learn at every corner? Are you an employee that the company can’t live without?
That’s something to think about.
Having the spirit of excellence flows into our everyday life. We are charged to have it with every endeavor of life. When washing the dishes, cleaning the house, washing the car, changing a tire, interacting with others – we must do it to the best of our ability.
Just because one achieves his/her goals, gives 100 percent in everything, doesn’t give anyone a license to be smug about it either.
I pride myself on being alert and aware of my surroundings and smart about when I may be taken advantage of, yet, a few weeks ago the lesson to be learned was in my court.
My son and I had driven to Independence to shop. We got out of our car and were immediately approached by a raggedy-looking man requesting a handout. He explained that his two children and he were stranded without gas or the money to get home. He wanted $20 from us. He was talking fast and pulling assorted identification out of his wallet, claiming he went to church regularly and was not scamming us.
Looking at me first – I immediately said, “I don’t have $20, sorry.” I began to walk away when my 21-year-old, out-of-work son took out his wallet and gave the man his last three dollars.
Ashamed of myself, I sheepishly told the man I didn’t have $20, but I could give him $3 just the same as my son had, which was the truth. Profusely thanking and blessing us, the man moved onto another couple and we headed into the store.
I looked at my son saying, “I don’t know if he was telling the truth about his children, so we may have been scammed.” I praised my son for having the grace to give and that I was proud of him. He looked at me sternly and said, “Whether he was scamming us or not Mom, we did the right thing.”
A lesson to be learned came from my own son. It just goes to show, the Lord puts those in our path to teach us a lesson and sometimes it isn’t always those who read scripture or pray more than we do. Sometimes it’s someone who doesn’t even believe, but God has put the words in their mouths anyway.
As I look at my own workplace behavior, I realize working as hard as I do will reap a nice reward someday. Nevertheless, behaving like a good Christian is still something I need to apply to my life as deeply and hard as I do when I perform a task well.
Another lesson given to me recently came from a dear friend who is suffering from inoperable cancer. “We’ll see what God intends to do with it. He’ll use it in His way. That’s OK by me. You know, we sign on for this Christianity business when we’re young and healthy and at some point we all have to put our money where our mouth is. This is just my time to do that.”


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