Thursday, January 1, 2015

Finding Our Own Performance Standard

There are standards which we all are to meet, but in some systems standards differ for different people. In education the gamut runs from 0-100% or from an F to an A+. To pass there are acceptable standards. Less than 70% is usually failing. People squeak through high school with mere "gifts" of D- and some are so astounding that an A fails to describe their knowledge!

On an IQ test there is no pass/fail, but a normal distribution of intelligence. The distribution of scores, if it's a good test of intelligence, is a bell-shaped curve. Most people, if the test is designed correctly, will have an "Intelligence Quotient" (IQ) of 100. Many of us were tested with the Stanford-Binet Tool.  The classification for normalcy is between 90-109 as are many of the other tools. On the low end 40-54 is moderately impaired or delayed. Scores of 145-160 (the top of the range) is very gifted or highly advanced. It would appear that scores below 40 are meaningless because the person tested is beyond the understanding of the basics. Scores in excess of 160 are rare and for those above 132 they are Mensa material!  A person can be considered as a genius with an IQ score as low as 125 providing "special factors" are considered. Charles Spearman, in 1927 wrote:
 "Every normal man, woman, and child is, then, a genius at something, as well as an idiot at something."
My neighbor was probably a genius. He was the Chief Surgeon and Department head at a large hospital, but he couldn't light his furnace nor repair a sprinkler head. His daughter asked me to help her with any practical applications which came up. He was surely much smarter than I am, but he was "an idiot at something"! Likewise, keep me out of surgery because that's my own idiocy!

We are all a  "genius at something" said Spearman. I have special "inventions" used widely by General Motors and designed a compact blank washer for Ford Motor Company with quick-change cleaner rollers. One of my complicated inventions was truly genius because the manufacturer failed to build what I built, and mine worked while theirs didn't (Yoder cut-off and pierce on the fly machine). However, in my first two years of college, I worked at a mediocre level in spite of my IQ. (I failed to go to a top-notch high school).

My greatest idiocy is in foreign languages. Even simple Spanish is "Greek to me"!  In language class a teacher could surely say with confidence "Larry is an idiot". I believe my music teacher did call me that under her breath one day!

My point is that we all have things in which we excel and others in which we fail. We have different aptitudes! That's a talent or the ability to excel in certain things. It's not what we learn, but the faculty with which we're born. It's an innate ability.

I have just discussed two standards of measurement: IQ and aptitude. Our IQ can be measured by various tests and so can aptitudes. However, as we all can be idiots or genii, we all have aptitudes. A friend of mine can neither read nor write beyond an 8th grade level, but his cabinet work is immaculate! He is stupid from an IQ standpoint, but a genius in aptitude!

Who cares about this stuff? Why does it matter? We can use both our aptitude and IQ, whatever they are, if we know what they are, for the work of God. In my case, I can't sing and God has little need for automation systems, so I write. Why do I write? Because my gift from God is scriptural discernment. I understand the message God is giving to mankind. Like you, it's tough applying truth because of temptation, but on most issues I have no doubt what God desires me to do, I write so that I can share that incite. You may reject it, but I offer the thought!

Am I a genius at writing a Christian blog? Certainly not. I'm merely "satisfactory" or as the teacher excuses my weaknesses "Larry tries hard"! On the scale of 40-160 IQ we all don't have to be above 100 in all things. We have areas that we are 50 (idiots) in and areas we excel 150 (genii). We can couple our IQ with our aptitude to discover how we can work for God!

I've seen people with a low degree of musical talent "screech to the Lord". Although the Lord appreciates the well-intended screech, perhaps the screech owl has better talents! It's the Christian's obligation in serving the Lord to find that talent! You aren't good at anything? That's not an excuse. Performance level grows as one does! Before one can excel at anything they must first make an attempt to do it.

Jesus found three fisherman who failed to catch fish. He made them fishers of men! Jesus found a zealous killer who was a tent maker to tell the world about him! God found a doctor to tell the world about someone who heals better. There are things that you do well. God doesn't always throw out the fish net to make you a fisherman, but scripture, prayer and the desire to serve will unfurl hidden talents.

If there is nothing else you discover, we all can be friendly and love one another! Your aptitude may not have a scale on which to register a score beyond the size of your heart and the width of your smile! People come to church for several reasons, but friendship is at the top. If you are truly a Christian there exists in your heart already the inherent ability to love others. It's more than an emotion. It's a work commanded by God. Use that love to welcome people as they enter the building, as well as when you meet them on the street. If you have the aptitude of commerce with mankind, it doesn't matter that you can't sing! You are a genius at loving people. Use that to grow the church and the Church.

God picked people to be apostles with various and sundry intelligence ranges and aptitudes. Timothy, a teacher, had to be taught by laymen regarding the knowledge of God before he could preach! He was a novice, but one must start somewhere!

What standard can we meet? We (Christians) are all part of The Great Commission, and we are all of "The Royal Priesthood"! With that said we are all God appointed ministers in some manner! Now to find the manner is the task ahead.

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