Summary: Excellence honors God and is a reflection of our relationship with Him.

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(Idea and some material from Bob Russel’s When God Builds A Church)

TEXT: MALACHI 1:6-14 (announce but don’t read)


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

good enough

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

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