By Joe Torosian
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”—Colossians 3:23
What does it mean to really give your best? Many of us are conditioned—by the time clock—to give just enough of ourselves to get through the day. But have you ever reviewed your actions, your, so-called, passions, or even your occupations (many have multiple trades) and pinpointed when you gave your absolute best?
Everything is so time-driven, everything is beat the clock, so it makes sense to get done what needs to be done and move on. In our culture, that is—clearly—understandable. Many of us live in a perpetual state of exhaustion and semi-crisis.
Many of us do just enough to get by…because we don’t want to do anything else. We don’t want to be hassled. We’d sooner sit on our sofa and see somebody else pursue their passions and desires of their heart. In our culture, it is, clear, many of us are just dreamers seeking another stimulation from the culture (movies, music, news, sports, etc. etc.).
And it gives a fleeting (ephemeral?) sense of satisfaction.
I was at a concert on Sunday night. I saw the group that opened, Lake Street Dive, and then The Avett Brothers. The Avett Brothers are my wife’s favorite band, and they’re really entertaining. It was the eleventh time I’d seen them in concert.
While I listen to music, like music, I’m not a crazy aficionado of music. As likely as I am to not change the channel when Led Zeppelin, Boston, Steve Miller, Bad Compay, and Bob Dylan come on…I’m also not likely to change the channel when “Billy Don’t Be A Hero,” “Beach Baby,” and or anything by Pablo Cruise comes on.
I have space issues, I’ve never been a concert guy. I don’t dance, I don’t swing, and I barely sway, so I don’t need any of it.
Whenever I do go to a concert, I am overwhelmed by the performers on the stage. The thousands of hours they put in to master their craft just to get to a place where they can be on the stage. And then the thousands of hours, miles, and performances they put in (while still rehearsing) to stay on that stage—as well as writing their own words and music.
The same can be said of a high-end athlete, doctor, lawyer, coach, teacher, or scientist.
To reach those levels, there’s never a day they just wing it or just phone it in. There are days, I’m sure, where they are constrained by the clock but I’m also sure that when they are “off the clock,” they are still putting in work. And if they’re under the weather, even being sick has to be postponed until the job is done.
I never thought much of it when I was younger, but, now, when I hear someone (especially an adult) say they winged it at something they reference as their passion/love/heart’s desire…I get sort of disgusted.
In my world of ministry and writing, I’ve heard both ministers and writers say, “Yeah, I winged it,” and then give a cute smile.
This wasn’t a case where they were thrown into the breach because of an emergency…But of them knowing when their column was due, knowing that they would be in the pulpit at 10:30 on a Sunday morning…And then just running off old material and old, well-worn, tropes.
Nobody knew…They got away with it…but it was gross.
If something is your passion (writing, singing, building, fixing, speaking, teaching, raising your children, or God), and you declare it is your passion, and have been gifted in the area of your passion, how can you despise it by not giving your best?
The Avett Brothers are never going to be The Beatles. Lake Street Dive is never going to be Bad Company…But seeing them sweat, seeing them work with the same energy in Paso Robles as they do in front of thousands at Red Rocks in Colorado demonstrates that they are giving their best each and every day.
Are we? Do we need an audience of thousands before giving our best? Or can we be content with giving our best without an audience of thousands?
I say this with absolute certainty…Whatever we do, small, large, skinny, or tall, we always have at the minimum an audience of one. The Lord. Our desire should be to please Him. Each and every moment, of each and every day, with the gifts he has granted us, on whatever stage he has placed us on, we should seek to please Him.
Because he gave us his best.
Author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all available through Amazon.com.