• Steven Marsh

Exaggeration: a Reflection on Psalm 119:145-176, Deuteronomy 7:12-16, Titus 2:1-15, and John 1:35-42

Exaggeration: a Reflection on Psalm 119:145-176, Deuteronomy 7:12-16, Titus 2:1-15, and John 1:35-42

The pressures to “execute” and perform” with excellence in all that I do has always been important to me. This drive for excellence has also been an equally powerful hindrance and stumbling block.

Expectations I place on myself and others are often unrealistic and feel oppressive. Yet, I shun mediocrity and truly desire excellence in all that I do. I often miss the mark.

In a recent Bloomberg Businessweek, I read with interest that drug manufacturer Novartis is developing the first legitimate anti-aging drug. Novartis is committed to aging research. And the CEO is not exaggerating when he states that an anti-aging pill is within the reach of developing. Really?

I am thrilled at the possibility, because it plays into my drive and need for excellence. And if I never age than I can forever be youthful in my approach to all facets of life. And, as I reflect back on my youthful enthusiasm, energy, insights, vision, and work ethic, I was able to things more excellently. In fact, my workaholic behavior was even more apparent than it is today.

What is it about the human need to exaggerate? Brian Williams is in a “heap of mess,” because of indiscretions he took in his reporting of a combat story in Iraq and relief work following Katrina. I get it, Brian is great at what he does, but the drive to be the best is insatiable. And ethical lines get crossed that compromise integrity.

There-in lays the problem. Often, the need for excellence is more about my need, than those I serve or the God I worship.

God, look at my misery and rescue me. You are awesome and I cry out. I know that when I heed your word, obedience is never a dead end. Yet, I go astray.

Salvation in all ways has been revealed to all. It is now the responsibility of individuals and communities of faith, to love others and engage the opportunities that exist for salvation to be experienced. The early disciples simply followed Jesus. It wasn’t complicated. I bet their expectations were fairly low. Jesus was always about excellence, but it was never rooted in “image.”

I truly want more out of life and ministry than mediocrity. God, show me the way as I hear Jesus say, “Follow me!”

Scripture Readings are taken from the two-year daily lectionary cycle which follows the liturgical calendar and begins on the First Sunday of Advent.

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