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A wrong note. No words on the screen. The wrong graphic. The musician who doesn’t know the song. It doesn’t take much for unpreparedness to stand out.

On the flip side: the choir member, or the singer, or worship leader who’s just a bit too enthusiastic… or the person who has to talk to the pastor every week… they stand out too.

Sometimes the reason we try so hard to stand out is because we want opportunity, we want to be seen, we want to serve. But, there’s a big difference between standing out and being outstanding.

In Luke 17 Jesus is travelling to Jerusalem and teaching us principles for living as we travel on the road of life. In the passage, ten lepers call out to Jesus, He tells them to go to the priest and as they went they were healed.

All ten of them called out ‘Master’. All of them did what Jesus said, but only one realised he was healed and went back to throw himself at Jesus’ feet in gratitude.

He was outstanding!

This one Samaritan leper shows us three areas in which we need to be outstanding when it comes to following and serving Jesus.

1. We need to show ridiculous initiative.

The other nine did ‘the right thing’ by doing what Jesus said and presenting themselves to the priests. But one, a Samaritan, the one that shouldn’t have gone to Jesus, did the BEST thing. The Samaritan took the higher road and went beyond the instructions.

In serving each other in our lives and in church, we can’t be people who only do what we’re told to do. Our service is not a ‘spiritual to-do list’ that we can check off. Instead, to be outstanding we need to go beyond ‘the right things’ and do the best things. We need to look to Jesus and show ridiculous initiative. We need to see what has to be done, and do it.

2. We need to show bold humility.

The Samaritan boldly went to Jesus, fell at His feet and thanked Him. He was bold, yet completely humble and that made him outstanding.

Sometimes we think we’re too good to do certain acts of service. At other times we don’t think we’re good enough.

If we’re to be outstanding, we need to live with a sense of boldness AND humility – they go hand in hand.

Opportunity to serve is all around us if we’re willing to do anything that’s needed. Let’s not seek opportunity; let’s seek to serve.

When it comes to our serving Jesus, nothing should be too high or too low for us to do. Humility speaks volumes. So let’s take on a spirit of bold humility and allow it to make us truly outstanding.

3. We must always choose Jesus.

The nine other lepers would have presumably gone back to their old lives after being healed – they would no longer be outcasts of society. They could have been thinking about re-establishing families, careers and their future. But the Samaritan turns back and throws himself at the feet of Jesus. In response, Jesus tells him, “your faith has healed and saved you.”

All were healed, but one was saved.

If we’re going to be outstanding, we have to continually choose Jesus. There will always be things in life that can take us away from Him. Like the nine lepers, sometimes the blessings we find in Jesus are the very things that distract us from Him.

It’s a choice to plant yourself and serve in His House. We all need to work and support ourselves, but in doing that we must keep choosing Jesus and keep putting Him first. Let’s never forget that Jesus has saved and healed us. He’s worthy of our all.

It’s so easy to stand out in church life. It’s easy to do things to get noticed in the hope of someone giving you an opportunity to lead worship, or sing, or play an instrument on the worship team.

But life isn’t about standing out and getting opportunity. It’s about constantly following Jesus and making Him known to a world that needs Him.

The irony is that when we decide to be outstanding, in our initiative, humility and choosing Jesus constantly, opportunity does come. Dreams do become a reality, and even better still, others see us at the feet of Jesus and decide to choose Him too.