This morning I was reading in I Samuel about King Saul. The story today was God telling Saul to go and completely destroy the Amelakites. Well, he (Saul) did about 95% of the job. He killed all the people with the exception of the king and killed all the weak and undesirable animals only keeping the good ones to sacrifice to the Lord later. What he did sounds pretty good to most people; he did mostly what God asked. But God was not at all impressed or even pleased with Saul's almost obedience. In the end, this rejection of God's instruction was the act that made God decide to remove his blessing from Saul as King.
The thing that just make me feel a little sick about it all is that I'm so much like Saul. I'm no king, but I'm a leader and I can justify and even feel good about completing 95% of a task that God gives me. But what I'm learning lately is that just about everyone can do that and 95% in that sense is not like 95% on an exam in school. 95% is no longer excellent. 95% when it comes to obedience to God is unacceptable . . . disgraceful. It's the 5% that requires most of the effort. American culture says "doing enough is good enough". God's not American. God is God and his standard is higher. Lord, help me get out of the mindset of mediocrity and do all You've asked me to do with excellence. Help me to do the last 5%.