A couple of years ago, my son was obsessed with toy cars.  He had tracks, ramps, and more cars than we could keep up with.  So when his birthday rolled around, what did everyone buy him?  More tracks, more ramps, and more cars.  Our house looked like it had been sponsored by Matchbox.

Was I complaining?  Absolutely not.  I was spending all of my time racing cars with my son.  But I did learn many lessons during that time.  The first lesson I learned was how to tell the difference between the name brand cars (Hot Wheels and Matchbox) and the knock-off brands.  I could actually tell the difference without even putting them on the track.  It is all about the weight.

Like most products, the name brands use better, more durable materials that add weight to the car.  They put more of an investment into the quality of the product.  That is obviously why their prices are higher.  But if you want a toy car that will survive the wrath of a two year old, you’ll make sure to buy the heavy cars.

Like the knock-off brands, I feel like we are often more concerned with putting a product on the shelf than we are producing quality inventory.  In writing a blog for example, I know that I have to have a post ready every weekday.  Sometimes the big ideas aren’t coming as quickly as I need them to, so I have to go with other topics that I don’t feel as strongly about.

Or even in teaching Sunday School or Small Group lessons, or leading a monthly devotional at some work friends, it is very easy for us to put in just enough effort to avoid looking unprepared.  In a world where the minimum is very acceptable, it can be difficult for Christians to strive for excellence.  But if we really want to be like Christ, we must invest more of ourselves in the quality of our relationships with God and in the quality of our ministry. 

If somebody were to give your faith the “toy car test,” would they say that it is a name brand or a knock-off?  Would your ministry go in the “play” pile or the “pass” pile?  When it comes to your relationship with God, what do you weigh?  I think it’s time we all get heavy.

Dewey Segler
7/8/2012 11:54:40 pm

What caught my attention in your comments was your, so true, statement " In a world where the minimum is very acceptable, it can be difficult for Christians to strive for excellence". I worry your parents have set your age group up for that. We have been, and continue to be, in phase were we don't keep score at soccer or baseball games. Any effort whatsoever is celebrated to the extreme. Self esteem is the be all and end all of this philosophy. It leaves the child with the feeling that whatever he does, whatever effort is put forth is perfectly wonderful. And yes we, as the Christian church, need to talk more about what it means to strive for a better relationship and why it's important. There's a blog: What difference does it make to have a continually more Christ like time on this earth? Why should we expend so much effort? For what?

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Jamie Boggs
7/9/2012 12:01:46 am

Great point, Dewey. Unfortunately, I feel like society is continuing to move further in the wrong direction. There is no accountability and no incentive to strive for excellence. This "everyone gets a trophy" mentality is detrimental to any effort to instill discipline.

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