Last night during the Alabama-Clemson national championship football game, there were some clever commercials. But the most amusing was AT&T’s ad with the catchphrase “Just Ok is not OK.”
The ads depict various situations where settling for ok is unacceptable. One shows a man in a hospital bed waiting for surgery. While his anxious wife looks on, she asks the nurse about the doctor and she responds, “He’s ok.”
In another scene, an artist tells a man getting his first tattoo that he’s “one of the tattoo artists in the city” and that the result is going to look “OK.”
There’s the mechanic who’s asked about his shop’s expertise in repairing brakes, “we’re ok.”
Then there’s the restaurant scene when the server is asked for recommendations and she replies “The salmon is ok.”
In each scene, the voice reaffirms that “Just OK is not OK.” Especially when it comes to your wireless network. And, of course, the ad says, AT&T is America’s best. Not just ok.
The spots appeal to our desire to have the very best. Not to settle for average. Not to be content with less than the best.
When it comes to spiritual matters, neither should we settle for “just ok.” Jehovah is a God of excellence and calls for us give Him our very best.
Paul admonished Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
The Old Testament Preacher exhorts, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” (Eccl 9:10).
First century workers were encouraged, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23).
The Christian life is to be one of dedication, devotion, and distinction. Paul put it this way.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom. 12:1-2).
The Greeks had a word for excellence, arete’. It is translated in the Bible “virtue” or “moral goodness.” (Phil 4:8; 2 Pet 1:5). It not excellence in a materialistic or carnal sense as defined by the world, but an inner virtue that is courageous and morally upright. Warren Wiersbe commented on arete’ with these observations.
To the Greek philosophers, it meant “the fulfillment of a thing.” When anything in nature fulfills its purpose, that is “virtue – moral excellence.” The word was also used to describe the power of the gods to do heroic deeds. The land that produces crops is “excellent” because it is fulfilling its purpose. The tool that works correctly is “excellent” because it is doing what a tool is supposed to do.
A Christian is supposed to glorify God because he has God’s nature within; so, when he does this, he shows “excellence” because he is fulfilling his purpose in life. True virtue in the Christian life is not “polishing” human qualities, no matter how fine they may be, but producing divine qualities that make the person more Like Jesus Christ.
In his fine little book, “Conquering An Enemy Called Average, John Mason challenges us to become everything that God created us to be. To look inward. To look outward. But also to look upward. To do more than average people do. To pursue excellence. To live an enthusiastic life. And to always stand for what is right.
The transformed life is a life of change. Putting off the old person of sin and putting on the new person of righteousness. It’s about following the footsteps of Jesus. To be like Him. And to grow in grace and knowledge (Eph 4:24; 1Pet.2:21; 2Pet 3:18).
Are you abounding in love? Growing in the Christian graces? Developing the fruit of the Spirit? Are you striving for spiritual excellence? Or content to resign yourself to be “just ok”?
Churches should strive for excellence in our ministry. In our worship services. And in our evangelistic outreach. Everything from the physical appearance of our meeting houses, to the quality of our printed literature, to our web page and the spirit of our worship services should proclaim the excellence of the Lord we serve.
“Just Ok is not OK.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman