Summary: The church is called to strive for excellence in all we do.
January 24, 2016
For the first 3 weeks of the year we’ve been looking at what it means to strive for excellence. What does it mean for us individually and as a church. I believe we can never be the church Christ calls us to be, if we don’t strive for excellence.
How can you be excellent if not being excellent is totally acceptable. If you don’t want to be excellent, how are you going to get there? I mean we’re not going to wake up one morning and discover - - - while we were sleeping we attained excellence. That might be fun, but it’s not realistic.
Excellence just doesn’t happen. It takes work. For some people, they could honestly care less if they achieve excellence. It doesn’t mean anything to them. We could say . . . it’s not in their DNA. But I don’t buy that. People can be great, excellent, if they want it. I believe God has planted that seed within us. But we allow too many other distractions get in our way. We come up with too many excuses. And too often others allow the excuses or even make more excuses for people.
The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the church in Colossae ~
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – Colossians 3:17
It’s pretty straightforward. At least it is to me. The call in our lives in whatever we do, whether speaking or doing, is to do everything, not just some things, BUT - - - everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. To clear this up a little, Paul tells us a little more in verse 23 ~
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, — Colossians 3:23
This spells it out a little more for us. Again, Paul uses that word WHATEVER. It’s really not a popular word in anymore. You tell someone to do something for you and they respond . . . WHATEVER! That’s obviously not what Paul means.
Paul is telling us whatever you do - - that means anything you do, whether it’s your words or your actions, work heartily. In other words, “Work with all you heart / or work with all your soul.” Whatever you are doing, give it everything.
Don’t just do some of your job half-heartedly -
Don’t just play the game - without passion -
Don’t just go to work to earn a paycheck -
Don’t lazily read the Bible -
Don’t pretend to worship -
Don’t just go through the motions,
In whatever you do - - - give it everything.
Kobe Bryant plays basketball for the LA Lakers and is probably one of the top 10 basketball players who ever played the game. I was reading an article about him and his work ethic. And I understand he makes millions of dollars to play a game. I get that! But, he could rest on his laurels and go through the motions.
Rasheed Hazzard, Lakers scout, 2006-11; current New York Knicks assistant coach: I got a phone call from a blocked number the day after Labor Day. It's 11 p.m., and it's Kobe, and he wanted to know if I would help him on the court at 5:30 a.m. I told him I'll be there, and I show up at 5:20 a.m. thinking I'm early, and he's already in a full sweat. He hired a guy just to stretch him that year and to show him different ways to do active warm-ups, so he had already done that and lifted weights. He's in a full sweat 10 minutes before we're supposed to meet and ready to go. That's when I realized 5:30 a.m. meant 4:45 a.m. with Kobe. When we were done, he went and had a track workout. When he was done at the track, he had a core workout, and then I met him that night to get some more shots in. He averaged taking 1,000 shots at every practice. I've never seen anyone work like that. His hunger to be the best is unmatched.
I’ve read about Walter Payton, the great Chicago Bears running back, how he would run up and down a hill during the off-season, how he would do it 20 times, and most guys couldn’t last 10 times. He strove for excellence. I’m sure you could give me examples of musicians and singers and actors and people you know in your life.
Most people combat that by saying, ‘well, if you paid me millions I’d do that.’ The point is, people do this, because they want to be the best at whatever it is they are doing. Again, do we want to be the best at whatever we do?