Don’t serve God your leftovers

Don’t serve God your leftovers

Thursday, 16 February 2017  | Karissa - Assistant Principal - Secondary
Picture this scene: It’s Saturday night and you have been invited to your friend’s home (you can determine the nature of the friendship - but this is someone close to you, someone you care about and who cares for you). They asked you to set this date aside in your diary weeks ago and you’ve been looking forward to it. Your friend has been studying at The Culinary Academy and you are excited to taste some of their ‘work’.

You arrive at their home and are invited in. After some general chit-chat and catch up, you sit down to dinner. Your friend places a plate in front of you and you look down at the ‘meal’ before you. A little taken aback, you look to your friend. “Oh sorry,” they say “I didn’t have time to make anything, I hope you don’t mind eating my leftover Domino’s Pizza from Thursday night?”

I don’t know about you, but as much as I love my friend, and place higher importance in their company than in the meal they cook, I think that I would walk away from this situation feeling a little ‘cheated’ or ‘ripped off’.

Now, what if you were the one with the culinary skills?... and it was God who was coming to dinner?... would you serve Him your leftovers?

We live in a culture of mediocrity. How many times do we complain about shoddy workmanship or poor service or inferior quality? It appears to have become about just getting by. So many people just put in their time, do the minimum that’s required of them, and cut corners, getting by on as little effort as possible. Likewise, students (and teachers) in schools have not escaped the pressures of the ‘culture of mediocrity’, a culture where ‘near enough is good enough’.

But is this something to just be accepted? Are we not called as Christians to be counter- cultural?

“Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

This year, our teaching and learning community will be celebrating and showcasing ‘beautiful work’. ‘Beautiful work’ is work that is produced when we put forward our best efforts, remain faithful to the task and honour God by using the gifts that he has given us. It is not just about the presentation of a task, or just about an artistic creation. ‘Beautiful work’ is as much possible in scientific research and mathematical solutions as it is in producing an artwork or an eloquent poem. ‘Beautiful work’ refers to work of high quality; work that is:

complex – it encourages students to think deeper

displays craftsmanship – it requires attention to accuracy, detail, and beauty

and is authentic – demonstrates the original creative thinking of students, is connected to real-world issues/people and has a purpose in a broader context.

‘Beautiful work’ is work that we would happily present before God. It is our excellence, our best work; a result of persistence, effort and care. It is produced through ‘academic faithfulness’ (one of our key frameworks for transformative Christian education.).

Both teachers and students will be encouraged to share their ‘beautiful work’ – through class presentations, information evenings, in-class displays, at whole school assemblies and teacher professional development days. We have a lot to be proud of within the MECS community, and we want this to help shape and transform the learning culture for our students. Through this celebration of ‘beautiful work’ we acknowledge, honour and celebrate our Creator God.

Reward comes to us when we find the right motivation for producing our ‘beautiful work’... to do it for ourselves, our parents, our teachers or even recognition at assembly is short-lived... rather to do it for the Lord, and to give our very best as a response to all that he has given; that is lasting.

Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus”... and later Paul writes, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (Colossians 3:23-24).
We are called to strive for ‘beautiful work’ in order to be the best testimony for the Lord that we can be. As Jim Elliot once said, “Wherever you are - be all there.” Make it your ambition to live out your gifts and talents to the fullest.

God has given you all the key ingredients and He is looking forward to sharing and marvelling in the ‘beautiful work’ you create. Don’t serve God your leftovers.  

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