More than Mediocre
In the late 20th century, an inspirational poster was an essential feature of office décor. The format never varied: a black border, a bold-type word, and a forgettable saying, like “Initiative: Take the initiative and lead the way” or “Perseverance: What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” or “Determination: It’s the size of one’s will which determines success.” or “Leadership: Until you spread your wings you’ll have no idea how far you can fly.”
Imagine if we started a new fad by printing the simple truth on posters like these and began hanging them around our homes, offices, or schools? What would the posters say?
“Indifference: It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but it doesn’t take any to just sit there with a dumb look on your face.”
“Persistence: It’s over man. Let it go.”
“Mediocrity: It takes a lot less time and most people won’t notice the difference until it’s too late.”
Mediocrity = “The quality of being not very good”
In the book of Malachi, we discover how mediocrity plagued the Jewish people. They falsely assumed that God would be pleased with “adequate” and “good enough.” So they would only exert the absolute minimum energy necessary to get a job done. No more and no less. They were looking to see what they could get by with, instead of doing what God deserved.
Instead of acknowledging God’s love and giving him their best, they doubted God’s love and gave their very minimal effort. This cynicism overflowed into their worship. Instead of offering their very best lambs to God, they would offer animals that were blind or maimed!
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you?’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts.
Our God is great and merciful. He loves us. He deserves our absolute best. Not our seconds or thirds. Not our hand-me-downs. Not our leftovers. Not the minimum. Not what’s diseased, crippled, broken, blind, and pathetic in the eyes of men. Not what’s left at the end of the day. Not what we don’t need after we’ve had our fill.
A mediocre heart cheats God out of what He rightfully deserves. It dishonors God before a watching world. Our sacrifices to God should be a sign of our respect and reverence for God.
Your words have been hard against me, says the Lord. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the arrogant blessed. Evildoers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape.’
God doesn’t need your service, nor does he need your money, He wants your heart. Everything you have He has given to you to begin with. A mediocre attitude holds on to them rather than giving them. A mediocre heart walks in church on Sunday, sits down, listens to a message but does nothing to apply what is taught. It is standing and singing in worship but not really meaning the words being sung.
Mediocrity is walking out the doors of the church in the same condition as you walked in.
Are you robbing God of the honor he deserves because you have a rotten “God-doesn’t-care-so-I-don’t-care-either” attitude? God does care. God really does love you. He proved that on the cross.
Are you cheating God with blemished sacrifices? Are you really giving God your best? When you serve God, are you doing it with all your strength? When you see a need or opportunity, do you rise to the occasion or wait for someone else to take care of it?
Are you lacking in your service to God, to His Church, to His people? God has called every one of us to serve one another
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
1 Peter 4:10
Serving in and of itself does not mean you are not mediocre in your heart, but the lack of service is a really good indication.
The people in Malachi actually thought they would get ahead by shortchanging God. We never get ahead by giving less to God. Every time the people thought that they would get ahead by giving less, they came under a curse and God withdrew his blessing.
Mediocrity is more than an attitude. It is a decision to decline God’s blessing. Once we have acknowledged our mediocre heart, our first step is confessing it to God. Then take another step! Repent! Invite God’s Holy Spirit to change your heart. Next, trust in Jesus because He has something far greater in store for you than a mediocre life.
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand.
Jesus is chomping at the bit to forgive us of our mediocre attitudes and actions. All we have to do is ask. Finally, pledge yourself to live for God and offer your whole life to him. God isn’t bringing all these things to our attention to crush us. He is bringing them to our attention to redeem us! He isn’t interested in what is adequate or good-enough. He wants all of us. Not because He is greedy but because He wants what is best for us.
The opposite of mediocre would be extraordinary. I’m challenging you to live extraordinarily for Christ and offer all that He deserves, YOU!