Excellence. Sounds like an easy topic.
Let me jump on my high horse and preach about perfection.
A few pithy quotes about trying harder or working more and you’re on your way.
Fortunately, it’s not that simple.
We confuse excellence with perfection all the time. We think the closer we get to perfection with a product or task, the more excellent it is.
That’s not necessarily true.
Excellence is not perfection. You can fail with excellence. Successful people do it all the time.
But excellence is also not just hard work. (“I tried really hard.”)
Excellence is something different. More of a character trait than an action or result. It comes from somewhere deep inside us.
The Greeks called it arête. Excellence as a moral virtue.
Arête leaders are defined by high effectiveness. They use their gifts and abilities to achieve results.
God is an excellent God. He does things as well as possible. So should we. We want to do things the best we can do it, because God deserves our very best. God living in us informs the way we do things and the kind of excellence that God demands.
– Shelly Giglio
There are two kinds of excellence I want to address today.
The first is excellence in actions. Outward excellence. This kind of excellence always leads to tangible results. Working well at your job, leading a joyful family, committing to service in your community.
If we believe we are called by God to do the work we do, then we bear the responsibility of doing this work with an unrivaled standard of excellence. We must strive for excellent work because we serve an excellent God.
– Brad Lomenick, The Catalyst Leader
The second type of excellence is very different. It’s inward excellence. Character. Not just what you do when no one’s looking, but who you are at your core.
As you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you – see that you excel in this act of grace also.
– 2 Corinthians 8:7, ESV
From this passage in 2 Corinthians, it should be clear that God wants his people to excel in both what they do (behavior or good deeds), and who they are (inward character).
This is still our mission, even today. To excel in knowledge and love, in work and faith, in actions and in character.
Where do you see these two types of excellence in your life?