The Joy of Your Best

JakeI want to tell you about something that moved me last night. But first I need to introduce this guy.

This is Jake. He’s 17 and he recently agreed to be the regular sound person for Trailhead. Running sound isn’t the glamorous, fame-inducing gig it sounds like. You set up microphones and cables. You sit in a booth, making adjustments to monitors and sound levels. At the end of the gathering you shut things down and head home. Most people have no idea you did any of this.

Last night I was sitting in the back of the room, listening to the band practice. Jake was working with each of the people up front to make sure their levels where exactly what they wanted. Once things were set and the band was playing through the songs for the night I saw Jake come out of the booth and start walking around. He moved from place to place in the room, pausing long enough to take in the sound. He ended in the aisle right in front of me, and after his regular pause he pivoted on his left foot, pumped his fist, and exhaled his excitement audibly. I held back a few tears.

That response from me might seem like overdoing it, but what I saw was the beauty of someone being fulfilled by giving their best to the task in front of them for the sake of others. Recently we’ve started saying “fine is not fine” around Trailhead. We don’t say this because we’re trying to impress people or create a graceless culture (we don’t really mind mistakes). We say it because when we joyfully give our best for the glory of God and the benefit of others, goodness and beauty erupt.

Sadly, we often approach our work and acts of service with the attitude that “fine is fine.” We give what we have to. We do it through gritted teeth or at least an apathetic yawn. When we do this we experience so much less than what God has for us and we implicitly communicate that others are not worth our best effort. That’s why I teared up–because Jake challenged me. Jake showed me the joy I’m missing when I’m cynical or just get by. I hope we all become a little more like Jake and find the joy of giving our best.