March 24, 2009

Transformation Through Excellence

2 Timothy 2:14-19

Do your best to present yourself to God as … a workman who does not need to be ashamed.
2 Timothy 2:15


We are motivated when reaching toward a goal. Our adrenaline flows, our creative juices churn, and our mind works overtime at solving the problems that stand in the way of achieving God’s vision for our life.

In the United States, where I live, there has recently been an unhealthy trend toward mediocrity. Consider recent sales of tee shirts; the most widely distributed logo in the United States is now “Underachiever and Proud of It.” At the same time, in Japan, the most popular tee shirt reads, “We’re Number One.” In the church as well we can become satisfied with less than our best.

Paul instructs Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed.” Paul was not content with anything but the best. He valued repetition, instructing Timothy to “keep reminding” his listeners.

Repetition really works for me. There are certain messages I must hear over and over again. The saying “the early bird gets the worm” nudges me out of bed each morning to feast on God’s manna. A card in my wallet, “Prayer changes things,” moves me to pray before I attempt to fix a problem in my own strength. A sign on my wall, “People are forever,” calls me to put people before projects no matter how inconvenient that may seem at times. Repetition produces excellence.

Heavenly Father, we confess that our lives do not always mirror excellence. Transform our minds so that we strive for all that is excellent in your sight. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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