Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Cost Of Excellence: A Confession

Yesterday I made a grown man cry.
My passion to succeed wounded a friend.
Through his tears, he uttered words that hit the pause button on my heart.

"Drew, God's extravagance was never at anyone's expense." Never anyone other than Himself or His son.

It's probably insecurity that drives me. It pushes me to perform, to succeed. A need to be needed. A want to be wanted. A desire for others to know Jesus sandwiched between two whole grain pieces of selfish ambition. (Phil 1:17)

For years I've waved the banner that 'excellence honors God and inspires people.' (Credit to: Andy Stanley or Bill Hybels or whoever first crafted that phrase.)

We love excellence in Young Life.  We thrive on extravagance. 

Why? Because God Himself is most extravagant in how He demonstrates His love for us. (Romans 5:8)

And...the Bible calls us to excellence.

"Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus." Colossians 3:17 (MSG)
Malachi 1:6-14
Proverbs 27:17

But yesterday I was reminded that excellence has a cost. 

I was so focused on the end zone I didn't notice who was getting carted off the field during my drive to score.

Do I want hundreds of kids at our first club?
Do I want our club t-shirts to look perfect?
Do I want that run-on skit to be hilarious?
Do I want fall camp to be packed with a long waitlist?

Yes. But at what cost?

One I don't want to pay anymore.
Not if it means missing the journey for the destination.
Not if it means running over people in order to win.

More than big club numbers and soft shirts with frockets, what do we really want?

O God Of Extravagant Love, 
Purify our motives.  Destroy our pride. Rid us of insecurity. May we find our acceptance in You alone. Give us eyes, not for a worldly prize, but eyes to see You and to notice those you place along our journey. May Your extravagant love for others overshadow all our selfish ambition. Amen.

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