PERFORMANCE AND EVALUATION
2 Cor. 3:4-6a
"Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant . . ."
I recently attended a vocal performance competition for high school students. Unfortunately, a lot of people have trouble with performance. Usually their failure to perform well flows directly from their concern about how their performance will be evaluated by other people. I know that a lot of you out there are great shower singers or you love to sing along with the radio when you are alone in the car. But when you are with other people your song goes away. Not a single glorious sound will be heard coming from your mouth! Does that describe you? If so, you are probably afraid to let others hear because you think they won't approve. You are anxious about your competency as a singer.
But performance anxiety isn't just about singing; it applies to all manner of things in life. The truth of it is that most people don't like being evaluated at all, and they avoid situations where they think they might be. My observation is that such thinking is unfounded. Look around, most people do their best most of the time; being good at what they do is their default mode. Most people display a remarkable level of competence. Let me give you an example: The other day I was watching the men who take care of the landscaping where I live; you know, the "mow, blow and go" guys. One of them had a heavy-duty gas powered trimmer. He trimmed around trees and shrubs and flower beds and along the sidewalks and cut the grass in all those narrow spots where you can't get a mower. But that guy left the grass as evenly cut as if it were cut with a mower. He didn't get paid extra for being so careful, it was just his nature to do his best, it was a matter of personal pride for him. Now when I use one of those trimmers I swing the head back and forth, which makes for a very uneven cut. On the other hand, he held the trimmer head rock steady and moved himself from place to place. My evaluation? That guy is a lot more competent trimmer than me!
But here is the important point. When it comes to serving God our competence doesn't come from us. It never has. It never will. Paul wrote: ". . . our competence comes from God." THAT is why we should be confident. And THAT is why we should be unafraid to do whatever God calls us to do. Hey, what difference does it make what the guy in pew next to you or your neighbor or anybody else thinks about it? The call comes from God, the competence comes from God, and He is the one who fills out the evaluation form. So whatever you do, do it to please God! Soli deo gloria, "to God alone be glory!"
--- Pastor Keith Andrews