Summary: Does excellence matter to God?
Does excellence matter to God? Does God care about quality? Is He concerned with how well things are done? Does it make any difference to God whether: the instruments are in tune; the worship team has rehearsed the songs, etc.? Some would say, "no." All God cares about is our hearts. It’s the thought that counts. God is not impressed with a slick program or flashy audio-visuals; what matters to Him are internal things like love, compassion, and humility.
And that’s right - partially. It’s also partially wrong. God doesn’t care about those things in and of themselves. God is primarily concerned with our hearts. But God does care about those things as an expression of our hearts. Because the way we serve God - in the church, in our homes, in our workplaces, in our families - the way we live out our faith; the level of commitment we have to doing things well, to honoring God in every area of our lives - that reveals what is in our hearts. It’s not the things themselves God cares about. It’s what those things say about our hearts.
[Example: visiting a rich family member who is unprepared for your visit vs. visiting a poor relation who has gone all out to provide the best that they have. Which one loves you more?]
"Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred." -- Proverbs 15:17 (NIV)
If all you have to offer God is vegetables [speaking metaphorically], and you prepare them with care and serve them with love, then God receives them in that spirit. However, if you have more - if you have beef, and ham, and roast chicken - but you give little thought or care to what you offer God, then God will rightly see that as indicating a lack of love. Do you see what I mean? God wants our best, whatever that may be. Excellence in God’s sight isn’t being the best; it’s being your best.
At WestShore we believe that God cares about excellence. We believe that God deserves the very best we can offer, and we believe that He desires our best. The best of our time, abilities, energy and strength, creativity - our best thinking, and caring, our best efforts.
"Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops."
- Proverbs 3:9 (NIV)
God desires and deserves the "firstfruits," the best of what we have to offer, our best efforts. He wants excellence.
Why should we strive for excellence?
1. We should strive for excellence because God is worth it. He deserves our best.
"Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom."
- Psalm 145:3 (NIV)
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
- Revelation 4:11 (NIV)
Have you ever given your best to someone whom you later found out didn’t deserve it? [employer, friend, husband or wife, religious leader, politician] That will never happen with God. He is worthy of our love and devotion, worthy of our worship, worthy of our labor. He is worthy of late nights and early mornings. He is worth making sacrifices for. He is worthy giving things up for.
[Illustration: Winston Churchill’s first speech to the house of commons three days after becoming prime minister, at the beginning of World War II]
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for."
Even more than Great Britain, God is worthy of our blood, toil, tears, and sweat. He is worthy of our best efforts, our highest achievement. He is worthy of excellence. There are many causes to which you could devote your time and effort. Small causes, large causes. [Collecting stamps. Rebuilding old cars. Practicing medicine or law. Climbing Mount Everest. Building a business. Running for public office. Raising a family. Keeping your lawn well-manicured. Lowering your golf handicap. Tutoring disabled children. Reading Tom Clancy novels. Staying physically fit. Finding a cure for cancer. Finding new galaxies. Finding rare Beanie Babies.]