I don’t mind a good competition. While I am not the most sporty person, when I am on the sporting field I DO like to win! I also like things done well and some might even describe me as a perfectionist. Yet in this world none of us are perfect and my experience tells me that there is nearly always someone who runs faster than me, is better at maths than me and eventually my skills will fade. The challenge to me (and you!) from scripture is not about being the best, but being someone who works hard and seeks to honour God in all they do.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Col 3:23)
“That everyone … take pleasure in all his toil – this is the gift of God.” (Eccl 3:13)
Using our God-given gifts, valuing each other as unique creations
In 1 Corinthians 12, we are reminded that as Christians we are one body, made up of many parts. Each part is given gifts by God and called to use them to serve God and the body of Christ. Colossians 3:23 reminds us that we are really working for the Lord, not other people. God calls us to be faithful and do our best in all things—surely the creator of all things and Lord of the universe deserves our best as we serve and work for him.
God as the giver of gifts has expectations as to how we use the gifts and skills that he gives us. God calls us to be good stewards of our resources. This is not only our money but also our time and our academic abilities. We need to nurture our gifts and skills—this actually implies using them!
In Genesis, we read that God created us to work, and in Ecclesiastes 3:13 we are told to take pleasure in our toil. So often we speak of work as a chore, but God created us to work and to take great pleasure in our work. We should work hard as though working for the Lord and strive to be content in what we do.
For school students, their work is school! They should seek to take pleasure in it as they work for the Lord and seek to do their best.
Willing to try hard, persevering
We are called to work, but even the word ‘toil’ implies that it is not always easy. Persevering when we find things difficult can be hard, yet we are to continue to strive as if working for the Lord.
Celebrating quality outcomes, appreciating and valuing excellence
Recently we have had some great success as a school in international competitions and at zone level in sport. We should celebrate quality outcomes, giving glory to God and recognising that he is the giver of gifts and we work hard so that he can be honoured.
Not being conceited
We are told to boast in Christ alone! Let us consider that our achievements are by the grace of God and acknowledge what we do in his name—but let us not grow conceited. Scripture tells us that he who exalts himself will be humbled and exhorts us to follow Christ’s example and humble ourselves before the Lord.
Let us strive to honour God by working hard and seeking to do our best in all things so that God might be glorified.