I'm breaking up the Small Group Bible study series. We'll pick up with Small Group Interpretation tomorrow.
We had a minor disaster take place at our house this week. We had a collapse: the foundation (and outer wall of our basement) on the back third of our house. There's mud and dirt everywhere.
We called a contractor. Actually, we called four. None of them has been out to see our house. One of them will eventually get our business. But we're not expecting to be thrilled.
Contractors always do this. They don't return calls. They drag their feet. They don't do customer service. We've asked several people from our Small Group and no one looks forward to calling a contractor. Or a plumber. Or an electrician. Or a roofer.
The contractor who comes out may do an excellent job. The work may look great. We may be very pleased by the work. But that's not good enough.
John Wesley said "Excellence honors God and inspires people." There's some truth in that statement.
But so often, in our pursuit of Excellence in the Work, we let other things slide. And these things can overwhelm the Excellence in the Work. They can leave our customers, parishoners, employers, and Small Group members deeply frustrated and dissapointed. Even if we do the Excellent in the Work.
We need to find our way to Memorable Work.
The insurance company sent someone out to look at the damage. He determined that water contributed to the collapse. And that groundhog hole really helped. And because of all that, insurance won't cover it.
But the guy was memorable. Henry was socially a little bit uncomfortable, shy, but very nice. He took a real interest in us. Showed compassion. Took time to listen to our frustration. And then he left.
I don't know if he was an excellent insurance adjustor or not. It doesn't really matter. He was memorable, so we're staying with our insurance company.
What would it look like if we searched for standards other than Excellence in the Work? What if we valued relationship? What if we surprised the people we work for and with?
Could you imagine an apartment complex who helped you unload?
Could you imagine a doctor's office without a wait?
Could you imagine a church that didn't collect an offering?
Could you imagine a Small Group that followed up on prayer requests?
Could you imagine someone who replied to every e-mail?
Could you imagine someone who replied to every missionary letter?
Could you imagine someone who knew every student at the school?
Could you imagine a contractor who called you back the same day?
Could you imagine a hobby blogger who blogged every day?
If the work is good, memorable is better than excellent.
I see this in my own life. I'm not an excellent preacher. I have a very limited time to write my sermons and significant limitations on my preaching skill. So I make my sermons memorable. Sure, I have standards. I want them to be good, true, faithful. But the stuff that falls to the wayside in the pursuit of excellent in that one arena is too valuable. Being memorable allows me to feel that good enough is good enough.
That's one big, difficult lesson I've learned this year. Another year older, a little wiser.
More on Inductive Bible Study for Small Group tomorrow.