The single most frustrating thing about raising my sons is to get them to do their chores well. I have had lengthy and laborious lectures about the virtues of doing work with excellence, but my boys look at me as I have two heads on my shoulder when I tell them that doing the job right will make them “feel good” about themselves. Somehow we have conditioned children and youth to believe that as long as someone “does their best”, that’s its okay if it falls short of excellence. But that logic falls short, of course, in practical life if you get a prescription wrong, or make a bad calculation on the design a bridge, or get the temperature wrong on the dinner you’re cooking. No, doing things correct, the first time, is quite frankly, intelligent, time saving and godly.
I was reading the book of Ezekiel recently and was astounded at all the details God prescribed about the dimensions of temple, the new city of Jerusalem, the altar, etc. God gave very precise instructions in the Bible. He made very specific measurements and was crystal clear about colors, the kind of wood to be used and so on. Consider Noah' s ark - Genesis 6:13-22; the Ark of the covenant Exodus 25:10; 37:1-9; the first temple that was built by Solomon in 2 Chronicles 2, God's commandments to His people in Exodus chapters 20-24. The regulations are precise and thorough. There are no “insignificant details” with God.
He cares about things being done right and with precision; He knows and cares when a sparrow falls to the ground! Mathew 10:30 tells us that He even knows the number of hairs on our head.
God gives such precise measurements because it is His nature to do things exact and correct the first time with no margin for error, and perhaps to remind us that He not only knows every detail of our lives, but cares about every detail. Jesus told us this so that we wouldn't need to be afraid—God knows, cares and His arm is not too short or His stamina lacking. In short, with such an exacting God we have nothing to fear.
But what about you and me? How about our work and our thoroughness? There’s no mistaking that He expects excellence from me. Colossians 3:23-24 reminds us that, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” In Ecclesiastes 9:10 we’re told, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
So what’s my excuse for slovenly work or for not taking Godly pride in my work? Do I think it does not matter, or that doing it excellent is a task I can now avoid or simply put off? The Bible is full of counsel to explain the best way to live and how to enjoy a life that’s pleasing to Him. My destiny is to be one with Jesus Christ in my mind-set, habits and the manner in which I do those tasks God places in my life. That requires that I give attention to all that I do not only as a service to God, but because if has become, or is fast becoming, my nature to do work like my Father does.
My sons are watching me—what I do and how I do it is the greatest sermon I will ever preach.
There’s a danger, of course, to worship the work, become so compulsive on perfection that your house (or camp or church) becomes a museum rather than home of warmth, love, comfort and refuge. But the opposite is to not care about doing all things excellent simply because it is an extension of the new life of Christ within you.