Summary: Excellence honors God and is a reflection of our relationship with Him.
SERIES: “GOD-GIVEN GUIDELINES FOR GROWING A GREAT CHURCH”
(Idea and some material from Bob Russel’s When God Builds A Church)
TEXT: MALACHI 1:6-14 (announce but don’t read)
TITLE: Guideline #4: “DO EVERYTHING WITH EXCELLENCE”
INTRODUCTION: A. On October 13, 1962, a little boy was born in Starkville, Mississippi. His name
was Jerry and his father was a bricklayer. As the young boy grew and matured, he
and his brothers would go with their father to the job-site to help out. As he
continued to grow, Jerry joined his father on the platform while his younger brothers
would throw bricks up one-by-one for Jerry to stack for his dad.
Jerry never dreamed that in catching brick after brick he was preparing for one of
the most prolific football careers that any receiver would ever experience. The Jerry
I’m speaking about is the great Jerry Rice, 19 year veteran of the NFL – 15 years with
the San Francisico 49ers and now in his fourth season with the Oakland Raiders.
Jerry Rice graduated from high and attended tiny Mississippi Valley State on a
football scholarship. Out of college he was drafted in the first round as the 16th
overall pick of the 1985 draft by the S.F. 49ers. He wasn’t even the first receiver
chosen. There were two other receivers drafted before him: the NY Jets drafted Al
Toon and then the Cincinnati Bengals chose Eddie Brown before Jerry was ever
given the nod. Anyone know where those guys are now?
In his 19 years in professional football, Rice has always been known as the hardest
worker in his chosen career. A good example of his dedication to excellence comes
from several years ago while he was still with the S.F. 49ers. He arrived at training
camp five days early – the time when the rookies were to report. Why would he do
something like that? Jerry Rice is a champion who strives for excellence in what he
The S.F. Chronicle reported this phenomenal work ethic. 49ers coach Steve
Mariucci was quoted as saying, “Jerry Rice was not invited to the rookies and
selected veteran camp. But he shows up anyway. He’s been here since Monday. Is
there any wonder why the guy is the greatest. We’re going to have to tell him, ‘Jerry,
get out of here. Let the other guys get some work, please..’” (S.F. Chronicle, June 6,
B. What is excellence?
1. “Excellent” – outstanding; exceptional, better;
2. The Sciptures teach us that excellence is something that honors God
a. Col. 3:23 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…”
b. Ecc. 9:10 – “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”
3. Compare that with “mediocre” – of middle quality; not
a. Have you ever heard anyone say, “It’s just church. What difference does it
b. That type of thinking can certainly be dangerous in a spiritual sense.
c. Rev. 3:15-16 – “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish
you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot
nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
d. Mediocrity makes Jesus sick!
C. God says something about this subject in our text
1. TEXT: Malachi 1:6-14
2. God is displeased with mediocre, less than excellent service.
a. He deserves the best we have
b. He is displeased when we try to cheat Him
c. He despises offerings of inferior quality.
3. Want to share with you four important lessons I learned about giving God our
best from this passage:
I. Lesson #1: THERE IS ALWAYS A REASON TO OFFER GOD LESS THAN OUR BEST
A. We need to understand what was happening when the events we read in our text occured
1. The approximate date was around 430 BC
2. The place is Jerusalem
3. Some years before, the people had returned from exile in Babylon and found the city in ruins
4. They began to rebuild the temple and to rebuild the city walls.
5. However, as the people began to settle into their lives, they forgot the lessons of the exile and they
began to put their own priorities in front of God’s priorities.
6. They began to neglect the proper worship of God
--Even the priests were guilty
B. Their reasons for doing so were problem similar to our own reasons
--These reasons generally fall into three categories:
1. Category number one is usually expedience – doing things cheap and easy.
a. It’s just a lot cheaper and easier to offer God a defective animal rather than a perfect one
b. Things haven’t changed much
(1). We think it’s okay to just “get by” in our Christian lives.