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Reek of Excellence | Part I


V01p466002Being born again translates to a motivating mindset in that you recognize that, as a believer, you’re perpetually poised on the threshold of great things (Jn 14:12; Eph 2:10). We were created to make a difference and not just an appearance. And it’s in the context of that “difference” that we find the sense of fulfillment and significance that makes every day something to look forward to.

When you’re able to get your philosophical paradigm aligned with what Scripture commands as far as a godly mindset, you find yourself pursuing a standard of excellence in everything you do (Col 3:17). And when you make a point of doing your best, regardless of what it might be, even the most menial task takes on a different dynamic in that you’re no longer just trying to “get through it,” as much you’re now “getting to it!”

This all stems from your awareness of how God has a purpose embedded in every waking moment of your life.

Seriously.

There’s nothing wasted. Every triumph and every trial has His Signature on it and when you’re engaged in a quality spiritual training program that has you constantly learning and growing, you become more consistent in filtering everything through the Reality of His Purpose and His Power as opposed to your perspective and your abilities.

Years ago, I was fresh out of the military having recently completed a very successful musical tour where I was playing drums in front of arenas filed with thousands of people. Upon completing that tour, however, I was in need of some income but wanted a situation that provided some flexibility so I could continue my pursuit of a career in music. A friend of mine at the church I attended owned and operated a fast food franchise in the mall and offered me a job. I chose to accept it believing it to be a very temporary situation but it wasn’t long before it became my primary source of revenue.

Mind you, just a few months prior to all this I was a Staff Sergeant in the USMC. Yet, here I am now smelling like a chicken nugget, wearing a name tag and taking orders from a High School Senior. In addition, my musical career appeared to be at a standstill which made my current position at Chick Fil A seem all the more frustrating.

I was contemplating all of this as I was walking into the Food Court one morning and I chose to encourage myself with the fact that I had yet to be asked to clean the commode. While that was hardly a professional accolade, it was nevertheless something that I could point to as evidence that it could be worse.

As I made my way into the restaurant, my manager greeted me with a green scouring pad and a can of cleanser. “Morning, Bruce! I’ve got a job for you…!”

So, there I am, on my hands and knees, scrubbing the floor surrounding the upstairs toilet and having a very frank exchange of ideas with my Heavenly Father.

Me: Are you seeing this?

God: Yeah, how about that?

Me: Do You not remember the “Young Messiah Tour” and the commissioning service that we had at my church in Virginia before I left? I thought I was on my way to something amazing and look at me, Lord! I’m scrubbing urine off the deck of the upstairs bathroom at Chick Fil A at Rivergate Mall! I’m broke, I’ve got no real prospects and I smell like a Waffle Potato Fry!

God: Let me ask you something.

Me: Please.

God: Would it make any difference if it had been Me asking you to clean the commode this morning?

Me (very aware that any request coming from my King is going to get my full attention and inspire my best effort): Well, certainly!

God: Well, guess what…

Among the Scriptures I had recently committed to memory was Psalm 139:16 where it says that, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before they came to be.” I liked that verse because it gave every nuance of my life a sense of Divine Purpose. There was nothing wasted and I could rest assured that even the most laborious task had something Significant attached to it in that it was scripted by my Heavenly Father.

I hadn’t been thinking about that verse when I first knelt down to clean the toilet, but now after having been reminded of what this moment was from a Divine Standpoint, I was looking at it much differently. Mind you, it’s still urine and I’m still broke and I’m still longing for the day when I can make a living as a musician. But there’s a new spring in my step and I’m resolved to make this toilet sparkle.

Bear in mind this is not just profound little “twist” you can superimpose on a situation that would otherwise resonate as a mindless chore.

When I was stationed in Virginia, I played drums for the Norfolk First Baptist Church Choir. Larry White was the Minister of Music and he did a great job of putting on a wonderful program for Christmas and Easter and every Sunday was an intentional and well planned worship service that represented the best of what he and the players he was responsible for had to offer.

I enjoyed it immensely, although there were moments when the issue of volume was frustrating and there were also times when you looked at the chart you were being asked to play and you found yourself wishing for something that asked more of you in terms of musical prowess. Still, even the most basic song can, and should, inspire your best. And as far as the volume, well…you’ve just got to reign that in sometimes.

What’s significant about all this is that you would never expect something as commonplace as a church orchestra gig to result in an opportunity to go on tour with a “who’s who” of Contemporary Christian musicians and singers. But there was a gentleman in the audience named Norman Miller who had an idea for a modernized version of Handel’s Messiah. He called it the “Young Messiah” and in 1990 it distinguished itself as being the most successful and well attended tour in the history of Contemporary Christian Music. I was the drummer on that tour. I never auditioned, I simply served every week in the church orchestra. Norman saw me play and decided that I would be a good fit for the idea that he was putting together.

Do you smell that?

That’s the aroma of excellence!

When you make a point of processing whatever it is that you’re doing as something God has scheduled for that particular moment, by default it becomes something that warrants your best effort. And by being obedient, you inevitably wind up benefiting in that the clock seems to tick a little bit quicker when you’re taking pride in your work and it’s not out of the question that your resolve to turn in a quality performance – regardless of the size of the audience -  could translate to an opportunity that exceeds all of your expectations.

God’s in charge. There’s a Plan in place and everyday represents, not just another series of tasks to weed through. Those tasks are a part of the Plan! You’re not on the bench, you’re not in some kind of “holding” pattern. You’re in the game, you’re making a difference and putting  points on the board even when you’re scrubbing toilets. That’s what justifies a legitimately optimistic perspective, a motivated mindset and an energized disposition.

Reek of Excellence!

Click here to read “Reek of Excellence | Part II”




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