At what point in life do you stop trying to get better? For Amy Whittington, the answer was, “Never.”
At the age of 83, she was still teaching a Sunday School class. But not just any Sunday School class. She was teaching the junior high boys, probably the toughest of all age groups to handle. Many teachers will tell you that they’d rather try to negotiate a Middle East peace treaty than try to get a junior high boy to sit down and be quiet. But Amy took them on every week without complaint.
Then one day she heard about a seminar being offered by the Moody Bible Institute that was designed to help teachers be more effective. In what could only be described as an amazing demonstration of passion and commitment, she bought a bus ticket and rode all night to get to that seminar.*
Mediocrity has always plagued the church. Some of the worst music I’ve ever heard, I’ve heard in church. Some of the worst public speaking I’ve ever heard, I’ve heard in church. Some of the worst examples of leadership I’ve ever seen, I’ve seen in church. Some of the most disorganized projects I’ve ever been a part of, I’ve been a part of in church.
I’ve heard people say that the reason mediocrity plagues the church is because so many people serving in churches are amateurs. I don’t buy it. When Jesus chose the men who would lead the early church, he chose amateurs. And they did just fine! No, the reason mediocrity plagues the church is because we have so few Amy Whittingtons. Instead of paying the price to work hard and improve, too many teachers and other servants are doing the bare minimum, taking shortcuts, and rushing to get finished.
Are you involved in ministry? If so, stop right now and think of one thing you could do to make your efforts for Christ more effective. It might not even be a big thing. Often, the difference between mediocrity and excellence is surprisingly small.
And then after you’ve thought of it, do it!
For further reflection, read Genesis 1:31, Colossians 3:23, 1 Timothy 5:17, 2 Timothy 2:15.
*Zig Ziglar, Something to Smile About (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1997), 47