Excellence

December 24, 2015

                                                Excellence

Why settle for mediocre when, with a little more effort, you can excel? God wants us to excel. I Corinthians 14:12 says, “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”  Excellence doesn’t come about by happen stance.  We have to make it happen.  The result of our work depends on the way we go about it.

To strive for excellence is not the same as being a perfectionist. Only God can do perfect work.  Perfectionists subject themselves to undo stress when they are striving for perfection

Excellence is found more in the process than in the product.   If we are striving to do our best, we need not worry about the product.  In our work we should strive for excellence and not just “good enough.”  We are often tempted to stop with good enough.  My father taught me a lesson in excellence when I was a boy.  It may be that he wasn’t deliberately trying to teach me, but I learned from him.  Many times I went with him to load the hay rack with hay and haul it in to feed the cows.  It was in the worst of winter and my hands were cold. I was anxious to start the journey home and  warm my hands.  When the hay rack was about full he would often say, “Well, I expect that’s about enough,” but he didn’t stop.  He went on throwing more hay on the rack until it could hold no more.  That taught me that when we reach the “that’s probably enough” it is still possible to exert a little more effort.

Talent isn’t all that is needed to reach excellence. It also requires character, integrity, righteousness, honesty and a high level of ethical standards. These are virtues that we need to keep adding to our life.  The apostle Peter exhorts us to keep adding things to our lives.  In II Peter 1:5-8 we read, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;    And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;    And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.    For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How we do a job depends on who we are.  If we are weak in character it will be reflected in the work we do.

We are always capable of learning how to do a job better. I once thought I knew how to fillet fish.  Once we were invited to spend a few days with a lady who has a resort on a lake in Minnesota.  She let me use one of her boats and go out on the lake to fish.  I brought in some fish.  She showed me how to fillet them on her kitchen counter.  I realized that my way of going about it was very crude compared to her way of doing it.  We do well by watching a craftsman do jobs we think we know how to  do.

We are often surrounded by lazy people who try to get by with doing the least possible. It may appear as though they do the job much faster than we can, but if we examine their work we will find that there are flaws in it.  It isn’t wise to follow their example.  If we love God, we want to do our best for him.

At times we may be criticized if we strive for excellence. Lazy people are embarrassed when our work exceeds theirs.  They don’t want us to put out more or better work than they do.  Don’t let them pull you down.  The time will come when we shall give account for our work.  Romans 14:12 says, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” I Peter 4:4-5 also says, “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:    Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.” Take heed to the Word of God and “run not with them to the same profligacy.”

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net

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