Painstaking Excellence

There was this diaper the other day…an epic diaper. The kind that wouldn’t be cleaned with a single wet wipe. This was a ten wet wipe job. Whatever my son ate didn’t just come out, but it stuck to his skin like cement. Stinky cement. I spent quite some time trying to scrub it off. I actually thought to myself, “I could stop here. No one will know if I got all of this off…it will come off in his bath tonight anyway.” Certainly Tait wouldn’t care.

I find myself feeling this way a lot. Not wanting to fold the mound of laundry…we can just pull it out of the basket when we need it right? Or, why do I need to clean the high chair? It is snack time in two hours and I’m sure it will get just as nasty again. I really don’t have time to call my friend. I have one hour when my kids are napping and I know that this friend will need to process for a while some of the difficult things that are happening in her life…do I really need to call her back?
I think it is interesting that God knew we would feel this way.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

God didn’t have to tell me not to grow weary going on vacation. Or don’t get weary pursuing my own ambitions. Don’t get weary going shopping…no He knew that doing good can be exhausting. It can be monotonous. It takes a long time. That’s where the don’t give up part comes. Usually doing good gets boring & we want to chase shiny glittery things instead. Like visiting Anthropologie instead of washing clothes…it smells really good in Anthropologie.

I came across this quote the other day. It’s awesome.

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Isn’t that awesome??? I think the word “painstaking” was in there because he had the foresight to understand how dirty my son’s highchair gets. But how powerful. Anything that uplifts humanity should be done with importance and excellence. Investing in friends, cleaning your house for the people who live there, caring for an aging parent, staying up late to help a roomate when they are crying…again…

Don’t just do good or do the right thing. Do it with excellence. Don’t get tired & don’t give up. When I think about the fact that wiping my two year old’s nose is actually giving dignity to another human, it is much easier to do it. To provide people with clean clothes and clean living spaces is uplifting to humanity. Walking with broken people in your lifegroup as they figure out who they are in Christ … it is giving dignity to that person. And it should be done with excellence.

It’s much more motivating when I think about it that way. And sometimes I need motivation.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Painstaking Excellence

  1. Me, too! Every day. All day. Lord, please motivate us by what motivates you.Amen.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful post. Love the story analogies, they make the "truth" hearty, so that it sticks to your ribs! I'll remember this when I'm doing mundane service throughout the day.

  3. Hey Elizabeth,I clicked over from the link-up.Love the MLK quote. So true and so inspiring. How often do I truly live that? Not often enough! It's a good question. . .what does excellance look like in my life?

  4. Jen

    You are so right — I do not grow weary of beach vacations! Sometimes, though, I do grow weary of doing good because they are places where God doesn't necessarily want me to be. It's such a hard balance sometimes that requires a lot of listening!

  5. Hi Elizabeth,What a precious photo! Loved the MLK quote, it's so powerful. And I SO agree that we should do all that we do with excellence.

  6. Great reminder! I think every mom of tots needs to have that quote posted on her fridge. Keep it comin!

  7. Love the verse from Galatians. Thanks for the extra motivation!

  8. Your mom and daddy must be so proud. What treasures of Truth you so eloquently give to hungry hearts Elizabeth. Your parents have done a great job of investing what is real and eternal into your life so that you can be a vessel of God's goodness too.

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