Building One Another

E. Stanley Ott

BALANCE Vol. 8 No. 37

September 29, 2009

Dear Friend,

On an airplane this week the person next to me was taking the airline's customer service to task for not attending to his needs the way he expected them to be cared for.  He did this while a line of forty-five people waited behind him. 

I said, "Perhaps the agent was exhausted."  He replied that in his business there was no margin for error and that people who work are called to excellence even when tired.

That had me mulling for awhile.  On the one hand we are called to excellence.  Jesus said, "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."  Matthew 5:48*

The word translated "perfect" may also be translated "mature."   The idea is that we are to grow in the likeness of our Lord and the bar is infinitely high.

At the same time, Jesus says, "Come to me all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens."  Matthew 11:28

We are called to excellence and to walk in a manner that is worthy of the calling with which our Lord has called us.  We are also called to compassion and to be conscious of the challenges other people are facing.

It's an interesting high wire.  Excellence without compassion can burn people out which isn't excellence.  Compassion without a vision for healing, wholeness and a heart to encourage one another to serve our Lord with all the excellence we are capable of isn't compassion.

Seek for yourself and encourage in others all the excellence that God has given you and them the capacity to accomplish.  At the same time, ask for God's eyes to be aware of what others are contending with and offer the compassion of our Lord to them.

With joy,
E. Stanley Ott
Copyright 2009 E. Stanley Ott
*Scripture from the NRSV