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Minimal Effort

July 23rd, 2010

“Don’t just do the minimum that will get you by.” Colossians 3:23 The Message

“Life does not afford you maximum reward from minimal effort.”

My thoughts today are about “minimal effort.”

In life, I have discovered that you usually get what you give. The Bible teaches that principle in many ways. Consider the principle of sowing and reaping, “sow bountifully, reap bountifully; sow sparingly, reap sparingly.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 NIV/See Galatians 6:7-10 NLT. Life does not afford you maximum reward from minimal effort. That may not be the way that any of us wish it were, but that’s the way the real world works. There is a consistently proportional relationship between your efforts and your results. Today’s verse teaches the same, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” Colossians 3:23 NIV. You can try life another way or you can cooperate with God’s way.

I find that true in all kinds of ways. You should have learned that at home, but loving parents may want to spare their kids from those kind of realities early on, so they require little and then are surprised when their kids don’t volunteer to do much else and start life assuming everything should be done for them and little expected of them. Not a very good beginning for life.

Then comes school. School is a student’s job; it’s work. And it is training for how life works. Often how well you do in the classroom and studies suggests your later success. To receive maximum benefit from your education, you must give maximum effort to your study. Study – which involves time and effort – produces better grades. Do only what you have to do to pass, and that’s all you will ever do, just get by. As home prepares you for success at school, school prepares you for success at work. And work prepares you for success in life.

Early in your working career you will face this same truth. You can survive financially with minimal effort, but you will have minimal wages to show for it. Satisfaction, and meaningful contribution, and personal fulfillment are better goals. They allow you to enjoy a pride of accomplishment, a knowledge that your life was invested in meaningful ways to your own and others’ benefit. Money is not the better goal of your working years. But money, the currency for which you are trading a part of your life daily, is not unimportant. Maximum financial reward can afford you options and offer you opportunities that you would not otherwise have.

Now consider the most important motivation for giving your best effort. Maximum effort honors God. “Don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master – for God – confident that you will get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” Colossians 3:23-25 The Message. I would suggest that being a follower of Jesus only makes minimal effort more glaring and unacceptable. A few years ago, I felt the Lord speaking to my heart this life principle – “Excellence, a higher standard.” I highly recommend it to you. See 1 Corinthians 14:12 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you never accept good enough as good enough.

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