by Pastor Tim Burt
Years back, Renee and I had a three-season porch on our house that was the pits. Initially we used it to store our outside furniture in the winter. We eventually saved enough money to remodel it so we could use it most of the year. I hired a finish carpenter to do the job. He had been referred to me as one of the best. They were not exaggerating. This gentleman’s skills an attention to detail and excellence in his finish carpentry work was amazing. He took what might have been an ordinary room and instead turned it into an elegant room with his finish work—far exceeding our expectation! His standard for excellence was amazing. It didn’t take long to grasp that this was a man who took more time than the cost of the job would pay him, yet it did not deter him as the quality of the job was his hallmark. He set the standard for excellence in carpentry over anyone I’ve ever know and I’ve known many.
When his carpentry work was done, I hired a young man who was also highly recommended to me to do the painting. Because of the detail in the finish work, I needed a special kind of paint and technique to be done. Again I was awed by the level of skill, diligence, and attention to detail in this painter’s work. His work was so superior to anyone else’s I had ever seen that it amazed me. (I at one time owned a commercial painting company so I knew the difference of good work from bad.) What these two gentlemen displayed in their work is so rare – especially in the field of construction. I was blessed in being able to find them. I don’t think either of them has had to advertise a day in their life because their referrals are non-stop!
How does great skill come? Great mentors play a huge role in learning excellence. If you want to be the best—learn from the best! But, I also believe that kind of excellence starts with a purity of heart in wanting to give the best, and caring more about the work than the money. This is probably why most artists and craftsman aren’t rich. They take such great time with their work that it’s difficult for them to charge the value the level of their work deserves—at least until their reputation is established. Then it will reward them handsomely. My experience has been that most people don’t pay attention to the details and don’t know good work from okay work.
People operating in this level of skill and craftsmanship are way too few. For many people in business, it’s just about getting in there, get the job done, and get out with the money. The quality and work may easily be substandard and they don’t really care. They are often unorganized, work with other people that are the same, overpromise, and seldom keep their word. That sound’s tragic but it’s all too true.
I believe that God has called us as Christians, to have a high standard for our work, no matter what it is we do. Careful and diligent work will always bring reward in the long run. Proverbs 10:4 NKJV says, “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.“ Do we have it within us to be skilled at what we do? If you tell me you are a Christian then the answer is yes!
God, by His Spirit, will help us with witty and creative ideas. If we will yield to Him, He will develop us as men and women with highly developed skills and ability. His integrity formed in us will keep us from letting money delude our work ethic and standard of excellence. You can see that excellence starts with yielding to God and letting His Holy Spirit work in you as we see in Exodus 31:1-5. “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “See, I have called by name Bezalel… And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.”
God-given desires are deposited within us to help lead us toward things we truly enjoy doing. As we patiently but diligently develop those skills and abilities, they will eventually bring reward and blessing to us, and glory to God as we rightly represent Him. Some people will forfeit the very thing God has put in them because of their love and drive for money or impatience in perfecting them. I think most people inwardly know that doing something you love and enjoy, brings a satisfaction and pleasure from doing it that is worth more than any fleeting pleasure money can bring.
Don’t get me wrong. People do need to make an income and I am all for people doing their best and making a good income. Sometimes skills are practiced and developed on the job and they get paid while they are developing them. That’s great. Others will have to develop them outside of their job. The effort made will be worth the result in the long run. When one works to perfect his/her skills and abilities diligently, good things will follow as we read in Proverbs 10:4, ”…but the hand of the diligent makes rich.“
In everything we do, God desires that we develop a spirit of excellence and use our skills and abilities to glorify Him! Does God see and know our diligent efforts? Absolutely! He knew Bezalel by name! He is your source of perfecting the very gifts and abilities He has placed within you. They will lead to personal increase and a life you enjoy living!
Proverbs 18:16 (NKJV) “A man’s gift makes room for him, And brings him before great men.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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