It seems as if some people because of ignorance or neglect spend their lives cultivating insignificant lives in a vain attempt to evade a multitude of sorrows. The world is largely mired in mediocrity and so much potential is wasted as days drag into weeks and weeks into months and years of aimlessness.

In God’s kingdom things are and ought to be different! God’s ministers, if they are to accurately represent the God of excellence, must go over and above the ordinary and manifest God’s majesty. God did not send an average person to do an average job in saving an average people destined for average things. No, He gave us Jesus, His best, so that we could live a life of excellence that brings Him glory. Thank God, He is different, and sets such a high standard. If He did not, He would not be supreme and we would continue sinking into lower and lower states, having nothing to look up to!

It is always a joy to purchase a product that is well engineered and constructed. It works exactly as it was made to, and keeps on working. You have no twinge of regret for paying what you did after years of flawless use. The ‘product’ in ministry, is the gospel. The channel through which it flows is your ministry. The gospel is the most excellent message ever, and each generation faces the challenge of cultivating a ministry that reflects the excellency of our God.

They shall see the glory of the LORD, The excellency of our God. Isaiah 35:2 

The definition of excellence is to be “over and above, to surpass or go beyond the ordinary or mediocre.” This in itself is not a bad thing. But in God’s economy, His person and character is the standard. Let me explain.

In the ways of the world, excellence will be comparative and competitive in nature. ‘I am richer, faster, and smarter than you.’ As a result pride is unavoidable. For pride gets no satisfaction or pleasure in having something, only in having more of it than the next person. Pride is a character matter in God’s eyes. Yet the world rewards achievers even if they don’t have character.

What is highly esteemed amongst men can be an abomination with God.

 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God. Luke 16:15 

Status, prestige, power, possessions, impact and influence are highly valued amongst man. Yet a morally impeccable person may be considered a failure if he makes no public impact. In contrast, a person whose personal life is riddled with moral failure is often still able to make a public impact at least for a while. Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon, all showed all showed determination, skill, resourcefulness, and were decisive. They were leaders and stood out, but unfortunately they stood out above the average in evil. Excellence must have a moral component.

Then too, God’s ways are not the ways of ordinary man. He is extraordinary in all His ways and thoughts.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways, ” says the LORD.

Isaiah 55: 8

 

God measures everything in terms of calling, gifting and function. All things are of Him as the source, through Him as the process, and to Him for the glory, leaving no room for competition and its cousin, pride. Every minister has a unique position and function in Christ, and eternal rewards are given out in the light of the minister’s response to his call. Not someone else’s. We are all unique, and our place cannot be filled by someone else. If we realize this, we can be delivered from insecurity, competition and pride to pursue our calling with passion and excellence. Of course, the challenge is then to pursue excellence alongside some ministers still trapped in their unrenewed world view of excellence.

Outlined you could look at it this way

The standard of excellence is God’s pure character, and not how well we are doing compared to someone else. The model of excellence is Jesus Christ Himself, making the goal of excellence becoming like Him. Character development is thus the focus of excellence, and finally the motive of excellence is to glorify God. No room for personal glory there. It’s all wrapped up in God, not self! How big your ministry is, how much you have done for the poor, is not at the heart of the Bible view of excellence. Rather it is who you are. What you do must be rooted in who you are in Christ, and without Him we are nothing.

Does that mean that ambition is improper for the minister of excellence? No. There is both godly and ungodly ambition. Ambition or the desire or aspiration to succeed, when properly focused on bringing God glory is a good thing. The need for man’s acceptance and acclaim is closely linked to ungodly ambition. We should serve God with excellence out of gratitude for the love and acceptance He has already lavished on us, and not because of the standing and acclaim we can earn amongst men. We are ‘complete in Christ’ and excellence in any good work should start with that assurance.

  …and you are complete in Him, … Colossians 2:10 

The antidote to selfish ambition is to adopt a new mindset of service towards others.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 

To be highly motivated is not as important as being motivated by high things!

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