John Gardner, late President of the Carnegie Foundation, once said something about excellence that has stayed with me. He said, "The society that scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water."
This is Howard Butt, Jr., of Laity Lodge. A nation that values excellence more than status is likely to have more of both. Character produces excellence. Philosophy to plumbing, gardening to government, as we praise excellence wherever we find it, our actions teach—the high calling of our daily work.
"I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?"
Originally Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Christ does not prefer the "special," "spiritual" work of clergymen and missionaries over the "normal," "secular" work of everyone else. Rather, Christ declares that all work is sacred if it's done for the sake of his glory. God wants us to join him as agents in his process of renewing Creation. This involves mending the broken, creating the beautiful, and cultivating the good. Any of this work offered as a sacrifice to God is precious to him.