A more excellent way!

July 16, 2014

Reblogged from: Midweek Manna

The young pastor was reared in the New Orleans metropolitan area. He knew that neighbors had to watch out for one another. He arrived in his new appointment after graduating from seminary. It was a small town. One morning in the early hours, he noticed this car going through the neighborhood. The car would pull into every driveway and the driver would get out. Then returning to the car, speed out of the driveway and down to the next house. The young preacher followed from a distance. Finally he called 911 to report the suspicious behavior. It wasn't long until the local police pulled up to his driveway where he was still watching out! The policeman pulled down his window and said, "Yup preacher, you have to watch out for those guys reading the water meter. They are terrorists in disguise!"


One of my first jobs was a paperboy for the Minden Press Herald. Actually it was my second job. My first job was being a shoe shine boy at the barber shop on Saturday mornings. As a newspaper boy, I would show up at the local newspaper office after school and roll my papers. Then I would get on my bike and ride my route. The total time invested was about two hours a day. The only thing I would watch during the ride was to make sure the "throw" of the newspaper landed in an accessible place. If it hit the porch, it was just a good throw. If it missed, close enough. The only time I stopped was when the throw landed in a place where the paper would not be found. On rainy days, my mom would take me in the car sometimes. If there was no lightning, I still rode my bike. I threw papers for about a year. It was a good learning experience for me.


This morning I am doing my walking (UGH!) in the neighborhood and I noticed a car stopping every once in a while. The car would pull into the driveway, stop, and then pull out. It would go down the road only a few houses then do the same thing. Finally I figured it out. It was the morning paper delivery person. Instead of simply driving down the road and throwing the paper in the driveway, this morning paper delivery person pulls into every driveway and throws it. I have to admit that I always thought my paper ended up closer to my door because a morning walker would place it there. (I had a neighbor in Shreveport that placed every morning paper in the neighborhood on the doorstep!) I have to admit that the last person that I expected to impress me was my paper delivery person! But I was impressed by the more excellent way this person has found to deliver the morning paper.


Paul in his letter to Corinth urges the young Christians to seek a "more excellent way" with regards to gifts of the Spirit (I Corinthians 12:31). Churches who practice radical hospitality practice a more excellent way of ministry. Just getting the job done is not acceptable. There is an attitude of excellence that is sought. And it does make an impression! "Those folks take this Christian hospitality serious!"


Contrast this attitude with a sign that someone gave me years ago that is in my office: "How much sin can I get away with and still go to heaven?" Minimal Christians get minimal results. Their witness is about ankle deep in the waters of life.


Do all things with excellence! Do all things as if you are doing them for Jesus! You are! Seek a more excellent way!


Pray for me as I pray for you.


In the Master's Name,