Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Excel still more!" (church bulletin cover)

I sometimes need to ask myself, “Have I become satisfied with as far as I’ve come in my walk with the Lord?” Oh, of course I know there’s plenty of room for growth in my life, but am I always eager to achieve that growth? Sometimes I recognize a certain weariness in me that doesn’t want to go further or reach higher or push deeper. I think, “I’m doing pretty good at that.” Or, “I’m doing well enough at that. I can rest now.”

Then along comes the Apostle Paul, that Biblical go-getter, who urges the Thessalonians on a couple of occasions to “excel still more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1, 10). In each case, Paul acknowledges that the Thessalonians are already doing quite well in the areas he urges them to increasingly excel in. This is no rebuke regarding areas in which they were doing poorly. This is a challenge to take it up a notch—to go to the next gear—to do still better at what they’re already doing well at. To paraphrase, Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:1, “Just as you’re already living in a way that pleases God, excel still more!” And in 1 Thessalonians 4:10, he says, “Just as you’re already loving all the brethren all over Macedonia, excel still more at that!” In other words, let your past encouragements be a launch pad for going even higher with God! Don’t rest on your laurels, content with past exploits, living off the glow of their memory or off the momentum of past acceleration. Go for more! You’ve excelled already, but don’t stop now! Excel still more! That takes energy and effort, which Paul was no stranger to, but God gives us the strength we need to press on.

May we never stop being faithful labourers who, by God’s strength, are willing to “excel still more” at all that God calls us to!

© 2008 by Ken Peters

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