READ COLOSSIANS 3:23–24
In his book The Winner Within,NBA coach Pat Riley offers some insights on the danger of compromising excellence: “Being a game player is a fiction some people use to excuse themselves from working as hard as they should. People who think they are game players are what coaches call ‘floaters.’ They float along on a cushion of talent or sheer physical size and strength. They don’t see what all the fuss over concentration and work ethic is about—until players of lesser talent start scoring in their face,quarter after quarter, simply because they are more in tune with their game . . . Eventually,every team has to learn that excellence isn’t a destination. It’s a process that must be continually improved”.*
Of course,NBA players and coaches are committed to excellence because they want to win a championship. Corporate executives are committed to excellence because they want to please their customers and increase profits. These can be good motives. But as followers of Christ the motive that drives us to excellence should be a desire to please the one who will give us our final reward. Everything we do should be done with a conscious awareness of his presence,a realization that he is watching.
Paul reflected that such awareness should prompt us,regardless of our field of endeavor,to “work at it with all [our] heart.” Men and women who follow Christ aren’t “floaters.” They give their best effort all of the time,knowing that there is never a circumstance during which the one they follow is not with them,urging them on to their finest.
Are there situations in which you “float”? Why? Identify a practical way in which you could use Paul’s words to help you to strive for excellence in all you do.
*Printed by permission of The Putnam Publishing Group from The Winner Within by Pat Riley. Copyright © 1993 by Riles and Company,Inc.
Quality/Excellence and Who God Is
We serve a God who is committed to excellence and perfection in everything he does. Before the devastating effects of the fall,“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). It is his intention to reverse the devastation wrought by sin and to bring all things to a glorious consummation in which the new creation will surpass the former paradise. Turn to Hebrews 1:1–4 to reflect on the excellence and perfection of the incarnate Son of God.
Quality/Excellence and Who I Am
“Do as I say and not as I do.” These words remind us that it is one thing to speak about quality and another to pursue it. We often long for more but settle for less, falling prey to the inertia of sloppy habits and mediocre routines. Turn to Malachi 1:6–14 to read about God’s displeasure with Israel’s slipshod worship.
Quality/Excellence and How it Works
We all want quality “out there.” It’s easy to expect and demand excellence from those we lead. But,stop and think about it a moment—where does excellence from our followers find its inspiration? Psalm 78:72 lays the responsibility squarely back upon the leader’s shoulders.
Quality/Excellence and What I Do
We all acknowledge that quality is important. God certainly exhibits it in his character and deeds. MaxDePree helps us to identify those times in which our team or organization is settling for less than excellence. Turn to Exodus 35:1—36:38.
“Have a blessed day, I am.”
A. T. S .