by Kay McElroy 5/31/2008 / Stewardship
Due to my husband's line of work, he has become increasingly familiarand I, somewhat acquaintedwith the term "industry standard." It implies exactly that, no more, no less. It is the claim that one's product is up to code, it meets the standard by which the industry states that it will pass. In other words, legally it will get by.
For example, if one were speaking in terms of our college or public school grading system, meeting the industry standard would require only a D. Not good work by far, but it passes the test. What if people in other walks of life took on this "I'll just do enough to get by" attitude? For instance your banker, plumber, or electrician, your child's teacher, your contractor, attorney, physician, or airline pilot. What if they barely squeezed by the law in all that they do?
As Christians, we should ask ourselves, "Am I simply meeting "industry standard?" Somewhere along the roadway of life, we accepted Christ as our Savior to guarantee our ticket into heaven. We joined a church and attend most Sundays. We give away some clothes and things we no longer want, buy a meal for someone in need, drop a few coins in a tin cup from time to time and consider ourselves good enough. That's industry standard stuff.
We must wake up and emerge from our comfort zones and become fervent in the most mundane duties. Don't get me wrong. I expect your neighbors would pass a quick petition to have you committed for observation if they repeatedly witnessed you taking out the trash with a spring in your step and a song in your heart. But hear thisthere is beauty to behold as we make our trek to the street rolling that huge bin of refuse. That beauty is called creation; fresh air, birds singing, gently swaying trees, green grass, the scent of a magnolia blossom, glistening moonlight, or warm sunshine on your skin. And best of all, we are endowed with precious senses by which we take it all in.
Then if all goes as planned, we are favored again as a big truck with a mechanical arm on it drives by our home and places the trash from our bin into the truck and returns the empty bin to the curb. In a perfect world, this is the case. However, at my house the big arm on the truck often throws my trash bag over the truck and it ends up in or near the front yard of my neighbor across the street. The truck then drives away en route to wherever garbage goes toward its journey to being made useful again, leaving my husband to retrieve the bag from our neighbor's yard and put it back in our bin with the balance of the trash that never left the bin. Better luck next timeagain, industry standard. On the upside, the plastic bag doesn't usually tear open as it's hurled over the truck and my husband has become good pals with the man across the street.
Is that how we should live as Christians? Somewhat achievinghalfway finishingsort of helping. Not according to God. We should go above and beyond in every task placed before us with a zeal for life and a joy renewed each morning by the simple fact that we are children of God. It is a known fact that we sleep better at night when we are pleased with our accomplishments of the day. Even if sleep doesn't come, we can still lie there and relish in the good they may reap, which by far, beats lying awake with worry that the "industry standard" job we performed today won't hold up until the money changes hands.
Don't simply live to meet the standard, hoping to enter heaven by the skin of your teeth. Instead Let's be prayer warriors, fishers of men donned in the armor of God, avid in worship, thankful in everything, all the while steadfastly remaining the most contented and fulfilled people to ever walk the earth, even through trials, strengthened in the knowledge that every tear we shed goes straight to the heart of our Maker.
We can begin by taking baby steps, going just a bit further than that which is absolutely required of us. It probably won't kill us---and if it does, we're that much closer to the Eternity hoped, prayed and worked for. Applying oneself is a win-win situation.
When you see His face, would you prefer that He said, "You have met industry standard," or "Well done, My good and faithful servant! Welcome!"
I am a Christian novelist and enjoy writing historical, romantic adventures. I placed 3rd and 6th in faith writers challenge. I had a novel accepted by The Writers Edge manuscript co. An excerpt can be found on their website. My second novel entitled "The Mission" is set in 1845 western America.