“I know I didn’t get the project in on time, but can you extend a little grace?”

“If I could get Sunday’s off, that would be great—oh no, don’t extend my hours the other six days though.”

These are indications of the very problem with Christians who do not understand whole of the gospel: we are under the impression we can justify mediocre work with our faith—as if somehow being a child of a indefatigably creative God is an excuse for us to produce non-creative, shabby, unacceptable and half-hearted work.

Because of this, in Christian bookstores, novels, music, businesses and sometimes schooling, “Christian” has become synonymous with “lower-quality,” or “cheap.” When we listen to contemporary Christian music, it is not hard to be jaded by the gospel message trying to burst out through the G, Am, C, and D chord progressions of every. single. song.

This is a direct disrespect to the gospel message.

We are not called to perform merely acceptable jobs. We are called to be undeniably excellent. We should be the ones leading innovation and music and research and ethical studies. Every field of work should be spearheaded and populated by Christian leaders who show the world how work is done well.

We should not criticize the masses, who now see the church as a place to be a lower-quality version of yourself because “Jesus loves you just as you are.”

Yes, Jesus does love you just as you are. He loves you as he breathes life and love into your lungs and encourages you to be the best possible version of yourself. He has the ability and the means to display his character through you: his patience, his work ethic—and his excellence.

Being called to Sabbath once a week does not mean you can be lazy and unproductive at work the other six days. In fact, Christians are called to work harder those six days to make room for a day of rest, the way our God did in creating the universe.

We should never use our faith as an excuse to perform in a way that is anything but excellent and produces anything but our best possible product. We should not be satisfied with our brothers and sisters refusing to use their talents to progress the Kingdom of God and instead being satisfied with a job in which they are not fulfilled.

This is the dichotomy Arianna Molloy spoke of at the Biola Hour this week. How do we balance an unfulfilling life while seeking our calling from God to further his kingdom? Should jobs and calling be the same thing? Am I doing life wrong if I do not feel called to my current occupation?

You job and your calling are irrevocably intertwined. Where you find work, you are called to work hard, as for the Lord. Where you find enough money to support yourself and your dependents, you are called to profess the providence of the Lord in your day-to-day.

Your job should be fulfilling in that you have an opportunity to display the Fruit of the Spirit as it is sown in you. But beyond this, it is undeniable that finding meaningful and life-giving moments outside of work is more common.

Be the most patient and ethical employee at Starbucks who always takes Sundays or Saturdays off. When you get home, join a soup kitchen prep crew or a Skid Row volunteer team—even further, lead a Bible study and experience that longing you have to teach and instruct others in the ways of the Lord.

In whatever venture you decide to partake, know you are called to be there and to be a light in the darkness. Shine brightly with the joy of Jesus, be honest in frustration and patient in chaos. But in all things, do them excellently, as for the Lord.