Wednesday, June 24, 2009


“and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.” (1 Cor 3:13b)
Main Point – Each of us need to take time to check the quality of the work we are doing. It is the attitude of the mind and heart that dictates the quality of the work of our hands.

One of our most used, or misused phrases in the Christian Life is Quality Time in the midst of a busy lifestyle. We use it liberally when we try to live a balanced life of work and family. It usually means making the best use of what little time we have. However, is that possible? When a person’s work expectations piles up high and the available time runs down low, everything on the to-do list gets done quickly, often superficially. If I am doing something to someone so that I can achieve a target, my accomplishments may be more short-term and will not last the journey. However, if I am finding the joy of spending ‘quality time,’ everything becomes peripheral to the desire to spend that quality time. The Apostle Paul reminds us that Christ has already laid the primary foundation. The rest of us need to build upon this cornerstone. The day will come when the fire of judgment will test the quality of every person’s work. How do we know if our work meets the required standards of excellence? Let me suggest three layers of work that we face daily.

Layer 1: To-Do List Layer
Layer 2: Purpose-Driven Layer
Layer 3: Enjoyment-Led Layer

Layer 1: A To-Do List Motive.
Some of us go through life like checking off a grocery list of to-buy items or to-do list of activities. We clock in our reports. We achieve our sales quota. We kiss our kids good-night quickly so that we can go on to the next item on the list. We meet with employees simply because upper management tells us to do so. Like a mechanic who gets a repair slip, he simply goes through the motion and follows exactly the steps written in the manual. When things go wrong, he blames the manual saying that it is not his fault as he has merely been following instructions. As we all know, bad quality work only leads to more complaints and dissatisfaction.

Layer 2: A Purpose-Driven Motive
A better step is to be more purpose-driven in what we do. Many of us work for a purpose, often for pay. We plan our resources accordingly and allocate work according to the priorities needed per task. If we need to meet a client in order to get a sale, we prioritize them. In church, Sunday School superintendents try to set up coffee meetings so that they can persuade people to teach in the Sunday School. Some pastors call up individuals not exactly to know about their life, but to find out if they can fill a certain vacuum in various ministry roles that never seem to be permanently filled. Under heavy expectations, ministry leaders often become more social when they felt a need to involve people to get things done. Some of these tasks are honorable, but let me suggest that while they may work, they do not last. Individuals can feel ‘used.’ Others can feel that it is meaningless to continue to feel like a tool to meet other people’s ends. There is a better way.

Layer 3: An Enjoyment-Led Quality
Indeed, a To-Do motive emanates superficiality from all fronts. A Purpose-Driven Motive seems to dehumanize persons that they are only targets of usefulness regardless of how honorable the goals are. When I peel an onion, the first layer is usually the first one that is trashed. It is rather pleasing to remove the yucky outside to reveal the yummy inside. The process of peeling onions can be a tearful experience. If we persevere, it can be highly rewarding. The quality of one's work is linked tightly to the attitude of enjoyment.
  • Quality time with loved ones and kids means to ENJOY listening to their inner desires, happiness and joys, to keep that moment sacrosanct from other cares and concerns;
  • Quality time with our work means to ENJOY looking for the right resources, not only to do the right thing but to do the right thing in the right way;
  • Quality time with our God means to ENJOY that holy moment, to render it untouchable by the world.
Keeping that moment sacred is a spiritual practice of ENJOYING the people we love. If we can learn to practice the presence of God in our quiet times, we train ourselves to be present to other people as well.
Brother Lawrence said: “…I do my work in simple faith before God, humbly and lovingly, and I carefully apply myself to avoid doing, saying or thinking anything that might displease him.” (Brother Lawrence, Practice of the Presence of God).
What then is the key to quality living? It is enjoyment of being present. My personal goal is for quality rather than quantity. I encourage you to do the same.

THOUGHT: What is your quality of life? How do you spend your Quality-Time with the people you love? Whatever it is, if it is a worthy person or a worthwhile effort, enjoy the process.
"Quality is not an act; It's a habit." (Aristotle)

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