We live in a society where mediocrity is the norm. So many people do just as little as they have to in order to get by. They are always looking for the easy way out. They make commitments that they can’t keep. They are always late to work. They don’t pay their bills on time. They dress shabbily. They have lazy and sloppy attitudes. Are you one of those employees who arrives 5 minutes late to work and clocks out 10 minutes before close of business? Are you one of those shoppers who accidentally knocks a display of cans to the ground and conveniently walks away from the mess, thinking it is the responsibility of the store employees to clean up because after all, they get paid to do it? Do you think nothing of saying little white lies throughout your day? "But everyone lies, everyone leaves work early, everyone gossips, everyone makes a mess and leave others to clean up. What's the big deal?" you may protest. The road to mediocrity is wide, comfortable and paved with compromises, lies and the refusal to do anything extra.
The road to mediocrity is wide, comfortable and paved with compromises, lies and the refusal to do anything extra.
God didn’t call any of us to be just average. He doesn’t want us to merely get by and do what everybody else is doing. He has called us to be cut above! He has called us to stand out from the crowd, to be people of excellence. He has called us to come up higher. A person of excellence goes the extra mile to do what’s right. He keeps his word even when it’s difficult. People of excellence have integrity; they pay their bills on time; they give their employer a full day’s work; they don’t come in late, leave early, or call in sick when they are not. When you have an excellent spirit, it shows up in the quality of your work, and the attitude with which you do it.
God's greatest concern and search in every generation is for people whose greatest quest is to move from average to excellence, and are willing to pay the price systematically and delightfully. I want to challenge you today to start making the better decision, not just the okay decision. I want to challenge you to make the more excellent choice. Make the decision to do what you know is the right and give it your all. I like the way an old friend, Brother Paul puts it in his epistle to the Colossians (Chapter 3:17)
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (New Living Translation)
We are called to strive for excellence in order to be the best testimony for the Lord that we can be. People are watching to see what kind of a difference Jesus is making in your life, and you can point others to Him by being diligent in your tasks and being above reproach in your ethics. Daniel exemplified this spirit during his service as a highly regarded administrator in a secular environment. The Scripture says that "he distinguished himself among the administrators . . . because of his exceptional qualities" so much so that "they could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent" (Daniel 6:3-4).
You can run into mediocrity accidentally but you have to purpose to be excellent.
Joyce Meyer once said, "Excellent people exceed expectations." In other words, they go the extra mile, they do more than is asked, and they take extra steps to ensure the highest quality. If people were to describe your work, would excellence come to mind or simply mediocrity? Joyce declared that "You can run into mediocrity accidentally but you have to purpose to be excellent." Thus, exercising minimal effort will lead to a mediocre performance at best, but really going above and beyond the call of duty takes a conscious effort.
Being excellent is not about comparing yourself with others. It is not about trying to outdo the other person. It is all about being the best that you know you can be. When you go out each day, you should look the best that you possibly can! When you go to do something, you should do it with you whole heart, giving it your best effort!
To be a person of excellence, consider the following steps:
Take pride in what God has blessed you with.
No matter how small what you currently have is, take care of it! Your house may be small, but you can keep it clean. You can mow your lawn and make sure junk isn't piled in your front or back yard. Your car may be old, but you can take a few minutes each day to keep it looking nice and presentable. Don’t leave it looking like a junk yard. You may have only a few nice clothes at the moment, but take good care of them. Take extra care of whatever God has blessed you with at the moment! Be the one to stand out among the crowd, the one who will be faithful in the little things. If you can take care of what you have right now, God will bless you with something better.
Make excellent choices, even in the mundane.
When you are done with the cart from the store, don't just dump it wherever you want in the parking lot. Make the effort and bring it back where others carts are stacked. If you accidentally drop a blouse from a rack, don't just walk away and pretend you didn't see it. Pick it up and put it in its rightful place. If a cashier gives you more change than you are supposed to get, don't pray he or she will not notice and walk away. The money is not yours. Give the money back and don't try to fool yourself by saying God wanted you to have it. God doesn't bless people by taking something away from another in a wrong manner. Those things may seem small, but they are the areas where the most compromises, excuses and justifications are made.
Be willing to pay the price for doing the right thing.
Excellence comes at a price, and it is not cheap! Be willing to pay this price. If you are in a group where people tear others to shreds with mean-spirited comments, walk away. If everyone in your office lies and cheats to get ahead, don't get caught up. Be determined not to fall in that trap. You may think you won't have a friend left, but if you are faithful in the little things, God will reward you and bring better friends into your life. Don't be deceived: the bad choices people make will eventually catch up with them. Doing the right things may put you at a seeming disadvantage in the short run, but I bet it will eventually pay out on the long run.
Treat other people's property with respect.
I remember how I used to handle hotel facilities when I started getting the privilege from God to stay in top class hotels. I will leave the room with things ON. “Well, I am paying a lot of money anyway, and these people need to earn their money” I reasoned. It was not an excellent way of thinking. It is expedient we treat other people’s properties with respect. If you walk by a house, don't step on their lawn, thinking it is all right as long as they don't see you. If a person was gracious enough to let you borrow a book, a tool or an item, treat the items with care and don't keep them longer than necessary. The people you borrowed the things from may have forgotten about it, but return everything to them.
Be committed to living a life of excellence.
Everyday, be determined to give life everything you've got. Don't cut corners. Don't compromise. Don't lie. Don't gossip. Don't accept mediocrity. Go the extra mile. Put in the extra effort. Do a little more than what you have to do. Remember, you are representing God. Get rid of sloppiness, laziness and move to a higher level. God will beam down on you and reward you beyond anything you ever imagined.
The true goal of excellence is to do the best you can with what you have at every moment. Jim Elliot once said, "Wherever you are, be all there."