Exceeding Expectations: Doing More.

Have you seen the “You had one job jokes”? There are hundreds of them.

Diane Sewell has a whole page of “one job” pictures. Like the football jersey with the number “12″ but spelled out thirteen. Or the crooked yellow line down the center of the road. Or the stop sign installed upside down. Apparently, there’s a lot of people who can’t accomplish the one job required of them.

Leadership mentors and success motivational writers and speakers all agree that if you want to excel in your business, profession or occupation, you must do more than just getting your job right. You must do more than required. More than the bare minimum. You must do more than you’re asked to do. You must go above and beyond. You must exceed expectations

This principle is true in life. And it has a spiritual application as well. I was reminded of this precept while reading the one chapter book of Philemon this morning.

Philemon was a first-century slave owner who was a Christian. He had a slave Onesimus who had run away to Rome. We don’t know the circumstances, if it was “accidental” or on purpose, but he found the apostle Paul. And in the course of time, Paul converted Onesimus. Apparently, he stays with Paul for a period of time and was very helpful.

The challenge facing both Paul and Onesimus was his responsibility to Philemon. Under the law, he should return to his master. However, most runaway slaves would be severely punished by their master. Some were even killed.

This letter is a masterpiece of tact, moral persuasion, and a model of Christian courtesy and love. Paul entreated Philemon to kindly receive Onesimus. To forgive him. And treat him as a beloved brother in Christ.

Philemon’s challenge was what would the other slaves think? How would they react? Would they use this as an opportunity to run away? And how would his fellow slave owners feel about this unusual action?

After several personal appeals based on their close relationship, Paul then says, “Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say” (Phile 21).

Christianity is the religion of the “extra mile.” It is behaving differently than the world. It is much more than begrudgingly doing what is right, it is doing it willfully, cheerfully, and sincerely. It is what is asked and a little more. It is adding extra value to your employer’s business. An organization. Or to a relationship.

Christians ought to be the best workers. Not only can they be trusted, but they will execute their responsibilities with excellence. They are not content to just get by, but to go beyond. Folks like that will go far. Not just in the business world. But in life.

What if we treated our families like that? We did more than expected? More than they ever envisioned? Not only remembered special occasions but made them special? Or did something unexpected, but special, “just because”? How much happier would our homes be?

What if our work for the Lord in our churches, exceeded expectations? What if every teacher, preacher, elder, and deacon, not only did his job but gave just a little more? Studied a little harder? Showed extra concern? Worked longer? Demonstrated usual patience? Deeper love? Greater empathy?

In the words of one of my favorite writers, anonymous, let my motto be “I will do more.”

I will do more than belong: I will participate.
I will do more than care: I will help.
I will do more than believe: I will practice.
I will do more than be fair: I will be kind.
I will do more than forgive: I will forget.
I will do more than dream: I will work.
I will do more than teach; I will inspire.
I will do more than earn; will enrich.
I will do more than give; I will serve.
I will do more than live; I will grow.
I will do more than be friendly; I will be a friend.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

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