Illustration: Giving, Excellence

A guest at a hotel was in a hurry to check out when he realized he did not have his briefcase. He went to the bellhop and said, "Would you please hurry to room 1203? I think I left my briefcase there. My limo for the airport leaves in six minutes, so please hurry."

The man checked out, and after a few minutes the bellhop came hurrying across the lobby. "Yes, sir," he said. "Your briefcase is still there in 1203." He did just as he was told.

Many people do the minimum, spending just enough effort to get through the job or life. These people are often unhappy, cautious, suspicious and without much thought or feeling about what they are doing. There is no joy in minimum performance.

Biblical faith, however, challenges believers to live life to the maximum, to "the max." Paul urged the Corinthian Christians, "As you excel in everything -- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us -- see that you also excel in this grace of giving" (2 Corinthians 8:7).