Saying No To The Status Quo

Title: Saying No To The Status Quo
Category: Pastoral Issues
Subject: Excellence
Saying No to the Status Quo

What is the "status quo"? Former President Ronald Reagan once quipped,

"The status quo is Latin for the mess we are in." According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Status quo means "the existing state of affairs." In other words the status quo is merely "business as usual."
"Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men." (Proverbs 22:29, NKJV) The operation of observance is the focus of the phrase in this verse that says, "Do you see . . .?" Professional baseball player and manager, Yogi Berra, said, "You can see a lot just by observing."

Dr. C. Sumner Wemp shares on his Website that his mother taught him early in his life to observe people. After over 50 years of ministry, he concludes that those who are genuinely used by God are those who delight in the Lord. Wemp further explains that to delight in the Lord "means to get your thrills, get your joy, get your life, in the Lord. Get all excited about sharing the gospel and getting people to heaven instead of hell."

Solomon continues by referring to". . .a man who excels in his work? . . . (Proverbs 22:29b NKJV) or as the Authorized Version puts it ". . .a man diligent in his business? . . ."(Proverbs 22:29 KJV) The demonstration of diligence is in view in this part of the verse. Diligence is hard and persistent effort. Consider the definition provided by the Oxford English Dictionary. "Diligent. Of persons: ''Constant in application, persevering in endeavour, assiduous'', industrious; ''not idle, not negligent, not lazy.'' This word simply means the old-fashioned concept of hard work persistently applied with dedicated focus.

"Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do the danger is that we shall do nothing."1

Good, better, best; never let is rest. /Till the good is better and the better is best.

"We succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess, but we excel in those which can also make use of our defects." - Alexis de Tocqueville 2

The expectation of excellence is expressed in the final portion of the verse which says, " . . . He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men." (Proverbs 22:29c NKJV) William MacDonald reminds us: "A man who excels in his work . . .will be promoted . . .to a position of honor. He will not serve unknown men. This is another reminder that cream rises to the surface. We see it in the lives of Joseph, Moses, Daniel, and Nehemiah."3

Since the middle ages those providing goods and services for the Royal Family for at least five years are eligible for a Royal Appointment. As you travel through London you can often find a Royal Coat of Arms with the statement "By Appointment to . . ." followed by the name of the particular member of the Royal Family.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poetically explained: "The heights by great men reached and kept/Were not attained by sudden flight;/But while their companions slept/Were toiling upward through the night."

The following lyrics to the hymn titled "Be Thou My Vision" were translated from ancient Irish to English in 1905 by Mary Elizabeth Byrne: "Riches I heed not, nor man''s empty praise/ Thou mine inheritance, now and always/ Thou and thou only, first in my heart/ High King of heaven, my treasure thou art."

Romans 12:11 is a corresponding New Testament exhortation to Proverbs 22:29 which says, "not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."

The motivation of mastery comes from the inspired word penned by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, "Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." We must decide between mediocrity and mastery. The danger is that we will become a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none. Martyred missionary to the Auca Indians, Jim Elliot, once advised, "Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God."

Although Solomon was a king, he knew the King of kings and Lord of lords. We will stand before the King of kings and Lord of lords to listen for the sound of His voice. Believers will either be "approved" or "ashamed" as a workman according to 2 Timothy 2:15.

The revelation of reality is found in the following verse: "Every man''s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man''s work of what sort it is." (1 Corinthians 3:13)
Please allow me to encourage you to continue saying no to the status quo!