Monday, April 4, 2016

Devotion 4.5.16

In Houston this past weekend catching two days of live golf in person at the Shell Houston Open, and during the course of the weekend, I was able to catch an episode of the Texas Country Reporter hosted by Bob Phillips.  The episode was fascinating because it featured a farmer turned sculpture named  Douglas Clark.  His studio is in Edinburg (the Valley) and his sculptures have been featured throughout Texas (and beyond).  How did he get to art from farming.  Long story short, he began sculpting while farming and realized he was not pursuing his passion, so he began sculpting and is now renowned.

While the field of art and sport are not normally seen through the same lens, I thought it was interesting to watch people pursue golf with a passion and then see this man pursue art with an equal passion.  In short, they are pursuing mastery and excellence in their given fields with high degrees of success (as judged by performance and spectators willing to see both).

What drives our passions and what interferes with that drive?  If you were like me, perhaps you chose to work in a field that was initially your passion that may have changed over time.  Love of history and political science drove me to teach, and the desire to perfect the learning environment drove me to administration.  Yet, over the years, I found myself removed from that to pursue other "important" things:  budgets and building a fund reserve; policy; human resource; legal issues; legislative requests; legislative sessions; and other "meaningful" activities.  I woke up one morning and knew that the passion that may have once driven me existed no longer.  Granted, I didn't approach the tasks with a lack of excellence.  I strove to provide accurate and quality information because it had organizational impact, but I knew it wasn't my calling, my vocation.

So, now my fascination with excellence has time to take root in some other form.  It's not just mine.  It is yours as well.  And it is a function of the God-head.  God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit expect excellence from us.  We were not created by our creator for the purpose of being mediocre, to just get by, and to excuse ourselves from excellence when we aren't driven to it.

Our prayer is that we pursue excellence in a God-pleasing way as we fulfill our vocation (our calling in life).  You can pursue that excellence in your given field as well as fulfill your God-given calling.  As Bob Clark noted in the story about him, Michelangelo is reported to have said, "Inside every stone is a sculpture and it is your job to find it."  As Paul wrote, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:8)

Hope Men's Ministry

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