There are many things that make a person successful. Certainly talent and knowledge are needed, along with the ability to get along with others. But as I scan our society it becomes clear that nothing else can make up for a lack of passion to achieve excellence in your given field or task.
When ability is combined with passion, achievement happens, and progress is made. Things get done and lives are influenced for good. In return, respect and recognition pave the way for advancement, giving a platform for even greater opportunity.
But I see good men and women slip into a state of complacency once they are recognized as successful. Their drive dampens, and they settle for "good enough." Their work rate slows, and they develop the ability to talk a good game. But the sad reality is that "good enough" is really never good enough. Life moves on, with ever increasing challenges and opportunities, and those who rest on past performance will find themselves having fallen behind and soon, fallen away. And the reason? They have lost the passion and drive that once propelled them into leadership in the first place.
The Apostle Paul had a clear mission statement for his life, found in Colossians 1:28: "Him (Jesus Christ) we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ." And he followed this up with his personal passion statement: "For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me."
So, here's the question: Are you toiling? Are you struggling to use every ounce of the energy God has made available to you? Are you passionate about the tasks he has set before you? Or are you complacent, satisfied, and well-stocked with pat examples of how you're working smarter not harder. If so, understand that good stewardship of our time and talents requires us to work both smarter and harder, passionately pursuing ever increasing levels of creativity and excellence. After all, the standard isn't our level of comfort and satisfaction but the glory of God.