Special Mediocracy

Luke 17:7-10

Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’?  Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?  So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’

This is a lesson for many of us today.

So many of us feel we should be rewarded for just showing up in life and we teach this to our children. We start this “you are special just for showing up” at a very young age.

Participation trophies, attendance awards, etc., these are meant to make the mediocre special.

No wonder we now throw around hollow and meaningless compliments like pennies in a wishing well.

This feeling of mediocracy as something to celebrate spreads into our adult lives.  We have a government that swears by it and promotes it. We have mass media that follows suit.

I was a manager for over seventeen years and part of my job was to do performance reviews for my staff.

Most of them were good hardworking people but some were ones who just showed up almost every day and put in just enough effort to keep themselves employed.

Most of these people expected substantial pay increases every year and did not hesitate to voice their displeasure with a raise that only kept up with the cost of living.

I remember one employee from early in my management career.  They were marginal at best and I had inherited them from another department.

Their performance review was sub par and if it were not for the fact that their father worked for a company that was a customer they would have been gone shortly after I became their manager.

This employee did receive a small raise and I explained to them they were lucky to receive it.  I took the time to show them documented examples of their work issues and the cost to the company and yet they still persisted for a larger increase.

Finally I asked them, “Why do you think you deserve any increase much less a larger increase?”

The answer I received as a young inexperienced manager stunned me.

They said, “Because I show up on time every day!”

That’s it?

Because you meet one of the very basic minimum requirements for any job I should be giving you all kinds of accolades and monetary rewards?

Now I will say this, through the years I have had some employees who couldn’t even manage to show up every day but guess what, they were gone in short order.

Just showing up isn’t good enough.  Just showing up is a basic requirement.

Remember this, doing your very best and always giving your very best is also a basic requirement.  To do any less is to fall short of what God has given you.

I fall short every day and get up the next day and try not to fall short.  This is what is expected and for doing this, don’t expect anything special. To expect more is vanity.

This is what we need to teach our children.  You are not special just because you suck in air and take up space.

Your specialty is between you and God.

Upon trying your best and doing your best you must say, “I have only done my duty.”

Don’t look for a prize, or a ribbon, or a “YOU ARE SPECIAL” sticker.

The gift, the prize, the ribbon, the reward is in the doing.

In the words of King Solomon:

“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.  This also, I saw, is from the hand of God”  Ecclesiastes 2:24

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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