I recently read an article by Mac Anderson from Simple Truths called "212 degrees". He pointed out that water is hot at 211 degrees but it boils at 212 degrees. "At the boiling point, water generates steam, and steam can power a locomotive. Just one degree can make that kind of difference! The one extra degree of effort in any area of life separates the good from the great or the mediocre and the exceptional".
Mr. Anderson also mentioned that the "margin of victory between an Olympic Gold Medal and no medal at all is extremely small. At the Indy 500, the average margin for victory for the past 10 years has been 1.54 seconds"….just a small amount but what a difference in the amount of money that the winner receives!
I had a very dear friend, Delores White, who passed away with ovarian cancer a few years ago. I hadn't been around her very long before I noticed something about her that set her apart from other people. Anything that she did, she made it exceptional, whether it was just by adding a beautiful bow to a package, a bit of lace or ribbon to embellish a gift bag or by adding those beautiful chocolate curls to a dessert to make it stand out. Her cards were always carefully chosen, and she would write beautiful notes in them. I have every card she ever sent me just because they were so beautiful and special. Whether it was her cottage at the campgrounds or her mother's home that she shared, every room had her special and unique touch to it. She was able to take anything and make it better and prettier! She wasn't satisfied with average and ordinary or 211 degrees. Whatever she did, it was 212 degrees! She challenged me to be better, to try harder, to push beyond average. I have not always been successful but want to consistently reach for the extraordinary in an ordinary world.
If we could all adapt this philosophy, whether it is in our homes, our jobs, our churches, what a difference it would make! It really doesn't take much to be above average because our society is so busy with their own cares and concerns that they don't have time for anything else. Just by sending a card to someone who is hurting, a caring phone call, home-baked cookies to welcome a new neighbor, an e-mail to encourage someone going through a trial, remembering the anniversary of the death of a loved one…..any of these things, even though they may seem small, will set us apart from the average because most of the time, we are so caught up in our own activities that we neglect the small things. I once read a statement that said, "Between the small things that we will not do and the great things that we cannot do, the danger is that we will do nothing!"
Let's all make the decision to turn up the heat and push just a little harder to be more caring, more compassionate, more loving, to expend a little more energy in doing what God wants us to do. Pray those extra minutes, fast that extra day, teach that neighbor a Home Bible Study, gather some friends around your table and share a meal together because there's almost something sacred about it. It's time for us to reach the boiling point!
Be encouraged to know that He is with you, and just keep walking!