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Posts Tagged ‘excellence’

  Sometimes we need to avoid that which is out of our grasp, but sometimes …

Ever gone into a store, a shop, a boutique that you can barely afford to browse the goods that are displayed?

Ever surfed the vacation websites for exotic destinations and lavish holidays?

Ever searched for real estate, and intentionally checked out properties that you couldn’t afford the maintenance costs, let alone the mortgage?

Doing such things can be a recipe for emotional disaster …

Sometimes, though, to see what is out of our reach might be the necessary nudge to change or improve our current circumstances.

Such can be the case when reading the Bible about what is required or expected of how we live our lives, as followers of Christ.

“… and what does the Lord require of you?
to act justly,
and to love mercy,

and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8

(that is not easy)

“But you are to be perfect,
as your father in heaven is perfect.”
Matthew 5:48

(perfect? yikes!)

“Love the Lord your God
with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31

(wow! I’m sure I am not that selfless)

These are just three examples of the standard for those of us who claim the name of Christian. The bar is high! Impossibly high! Yet it’s height is not to discourage us, but to prod us along, to encourage us to aim high.

We serve a risen Savior. In His rising he raised that bar for us. Not to discourage us, but to move us beyond our present circumstances, to something better.

 

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I remember it like it was yesterday. The words that were said made my head spin, my mouth dry and my tongue unable to utter a response. It was the most baffling, disappointing and shake your head frustrating sentence to hear from another person, another Christian. It was the day that I heard a person in a leadership position say, “excellence is NOT what we are about.”

YIKES! I could not believe my ears.

Sure, as Christians, what defines excellence might be a bit different than how the world might define it. Maybe our emphasis has more to do with ‘being’ than doing. Maybe our emphasis is more on relational than technological. Maybe, though, it isn’t that different after all.

It was Winston Churchill who said;
“Excellence is…
Caring more than others think is wise;
Risking more than others think is safe;
Dreaming more than others think is practical.
Expecting more than others think is possible.”

I think that Mr. Churchill might be on to something!

The apostle Paul, when writing to the church at Philippi, said something about excellence too, but from a prison cell in Rome, and about two thousand years earlier:

“Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray.
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things …
true,
noble,
reputable,
authentic,
compelling,
gracious—the best, not the worst;
the beautiful, not the ugly;
things to praise, not things to curse.
Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized.
Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

It doesn’t mean that we will always be the best at what ever we do, but if we fill our minds with all that is good, if we work as hard as we can to do all that we do with the best intentions and efforts, “you can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.” (Philippians)

Now THAT is the model of excellence … and I want some of that!

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