2 Corinthians 8:7

Now as you excel in everything — in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us — see that you excel in this gracious work also.

Recently a little cottage industry has sprung up in the U.S.: the motivation industry.  This consists of a cadre of speakers, teachers, and cheerleaders who go around the country urging eager Yuppies to Fulfil Your Potential and reminding them You Can Do It and dispensing nifty little bumper stickers saying things like Work Is Great, Life is Wonderful, and I’m at the Top of My Game.  Much of this Inspiration-for-Secularists-in-Pursuit-of-Wealth industry is a more or less fizzy and tinny boosterism.  But to dismiss it completely is to overlook an important fact: namely, we are indeed created for greatness.  Paul bears witness to this in today’s verse.  He does not berate the Corinthians for excelling.  Rather, he calls them to excel more than ever.  As St. Irenaeus says, the glory of God is a human being fully alive.  So the mission of the believer is not to pooh-pooh our corporate culture’s enthusiasm for excellence.  Rather, it is to root that drive in the rich soil of ultimate and eternal excellence and not let it be content with the barren rocky soil of mere pursuit of mammon.  Today, strive for excellence in the Kingdom of God.  It’s the only wealth that will last.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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