March 24, 2016

Over Performance

A TV news commentator discussed Trump’s dominating the GOP win in Arizona and said, “Trump has over performed by doing better than he needs to do.” I can understand how an actor can over perform, but I’m not sure a politician garnering all the votes he can get is over performance. I’m just trying to imagine a believer being accused of over performance…and yet that is what Jesus would have us do. Jesus said, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (Matt 5:41 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----This topic is a great follow-up to yesterday’s. Maybe the neighbor’s barn was roofed and sided with tin. I assumed it wasn’t because it burned down, which was a safe assumption, but still not a good one. But even if it was tin, the fire obviously found an Achilles’ heel. Had the neighbor over performed in protecting his vintage cars there would not have been an Achilles’ heel for the fire to find. So, why didn’t he?
-----My sixth grade teacher, Mr. Brown, principal of a little country school, would not allow any of his students to say, “I can’t.” If he caught you uttering this unspeakable phrase, you got a swat. It wasn’t a blistering swat. But it wasn’t a love pat either. It was just enough to make its point. I don’t recall getting any or many swats (notice I avoided saying, “I can’t recall…”, ) but I recall doing a lot of thinking about how seeming impossibilities could actually be rendered possible. Every seeming impossibility required over performance, like dedication of your whole life’s attention and direction. Ugh. Who wants that?
-----I suppose it depends upon the seeming impossibility. For most things in life, we allow what seems to be impossible to actually be impossible because we have limited efforts. Time limits our efforts. We are limited in space to the location immediately under our feet. And we are certainly limited in strength. Most of us are limited in funds. And I hate to say it, but it’s true, we all have limited heart and spirit. This is why God will not burden us more than we can bear. Knowing our limits, we must allocate our efforts carefully. We can burn up our lifetime on one effort and probably fail at it miserably because all success has a wide variety of issues calling for effort.
-----Now we can understand why the neighbor left an Achilles’ heel in his garage. He invested all the effort he was willing to allocate to the protection of his vintage cars (notice I said “willing”, not “could”.) Certainly he could have studied fire behavior and the characteristics of his garage extensively enough to locate that heel before the fire found it, but he did not. Maybe he perceived the other issues of his life needed effort allocated to them too. Had his heart and spirit for his cars been bigger, maybe the other issues would have seemed little enough that he could have invested more effort. And had he done that, maybe the wife would have left him for lack of effort invested in her. Our efforts in this life are limited and must be carefully allocated.
-----But you display God’s challenge to our very lives. He calls for this misallocation: going the extra mile, turning the other cheek, blessing when you’ve been cursed, returning good for evil. These are all challenges to our allocable goods. But a funny thing happens when you take up the right challenge (“…he who follows worthless pursuits has no sense.” (Prov 12:11)) Having come alive in the Lord, it doesn’t seem the size of our own hearts and spirits sets our limits, but the size of His heart and Spirit does. We see it work in the occasions we’ve answered His call to burn off a bigger chunk of our lives than norms would allocate only to find replacement of those chunks multiplied, not by our efforts, but by the Lord pushing it through that part of life which just happens to us. Mr. Brown knew the Lord. I think he was onto something about that “I can’t” thing and over performing.

Love you all,
Steve Corey