"Good is the enemy of great."
That's the opening sentence from Jim Collins's best-selling book on corporate management, Good To Great. He writes:
"Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life."
What does a book on corporate management have to do with our Christian faith?
I'm persuaded that Christians settle for "the good life" when God is calling us to something great.
I don't know about you, but more times than I would like to admit, I have found myself settling for a "good Christian life" while caring for little else in the Kingdom of God that does not directly relate to me.
Even though we attempt to stay inside of God's boundaries, we manufacture a life where self is at the center.
We are thankful for our good marriage that we have because of Jesus. And we should be! How amazing is it that two selfish people can live in harmony with one another?
We are thankful for our good family that we have by grace. We are thankful for our good career that we have by God's sovereignty. We are thankful for our good Christian friends who surround us.
Yes, we should celebrate and enjoy these good blessings that are ours!
But, in ways that we don't even realize, it's quite possible for our Christianity to culminate here.
That's settling for good, when great has been offered.
You see, we have been chosen to transcend the boundaries of our own little plans and purposes, wants and needs. We have been called to participate in the Kingdom of God and his mission to make all things new (Revelation 21:5).
That doesn't mean you need to abandon the good things that God has blessed you with.
Rather, it means living with a redemptive, ministry mentality in every those situations, locations, and relationships where God has placed you.
What does that look like? Here are a few examples:
- Don't just settle for a good marriage. How can God use you in the redemption of other marriages, or engaged couples, or divorcees, or singles?
- Don't just settle for a good family. How can God use you to disciple others in the wider family of Christ?
- Don't just settle for good career. How can God use your platform, power and influence to make a difference for his name?
- Don't just settle for good Christian friends. How can God use you in your neighborhood to spread the life-changing Good News of the Gospel?
Be honest with yourself and with God today: Are there ways in which you have settled for, and Christian-ized, selfish living?
Jesus rescued you from something very bad, not so you could settle for a good life, but to invite you to something eternally great!
Quote from Jim Collins, Good to Great (New York: Harper Collins, 2001), p. 1
- Examine your heart and life and identify one area where you have settled for, and Christian-ized, selfish living.
- What is one practical step that you can take to adapt a redemptive, ministry mentality in that area?