Excellence?

Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the LORD Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

There is  a fair amount of buzz around churches surrounding “excellence”.  For the four years that I have been in full-time vocational ministry, everything has been about excellence.  Such things as “We strive for excellence in all we do!” and “Do it with excellence” and “I believe strongly in excellence” has been drilled into me with so much power that if these thoughts have not floated through my mind at least once a week (and out of my mouth), I feel that I am falling down on the job.  This morning, as I was recapping kids camp (I’ll talk more about that tomorrow), and the word excellent did not come up, I began to think about it.  Here is what I thought:

Is excellence overrated?  Consider this: For four years, I have strived to do everything that I do with excellence.  However, in recapping events that I put on or work that I have done, not once have I used the word excellent.  There are several words that I use as a default, such as amazing, incredible or awesome, but never excellent.  These words, I feel are beyond excellent. 

Is excellence the highest level?  There are plenty of words in my vocabulary that rank higher than excellence.  If we can think of words that are higher than excellent, than why do we strive for excellence?  Why do we not strive for awesomeness, or incredibility?  By striving for excellence, we limit ourselves to middle of the road quality.

Consider this: A baseball team goes out and plays excellent.  They turn 3 double plays, get 10 hits, get a couple of home runs, and steal a base or two.  By any count, this is an excellent game played.  The other team has a similarly excellent game, couple of double plays, a bunch of hits, couple of home runs, and some stolen bases.  However the second team scores two more runs than the first team.  Does excellence matter to the first team?  No, because they still did not do that which they set out to accomplish: win a ballgame.

Now lets look at it from the other view-point: Team a plays lousy, they strike out 13 times, barely get a couple of hits at all, let alone together.  They get their signs crossed up and get caught off the bases.  The second team does just as bad (sounds like a game between the Mariners and Royals).  In the end, the first team scores a run and the second team does not, does the lack of excellence matter here? Not really, one team accomplished the goal, while the other did not.

Let me challenge you with this: Strive for excellence no more.  Do your absolute best in all that you do.  Take pride in your work, and strive for it to be the absolute best it can be, don’t limit it at excellent, but at your potential and potential of those around you.

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