The one word translation of “do your best” is Excellence. Excellence is giving our best! Excellence is reaching our God given potential! Excellence is doing the best we can with what we got.
Excellence is matching our practice with our potential.
1. God Created Us With Excellence
"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10 NLT
The word masterpiece is the Greek word, poiayma. Our english word “poem” actually comes from this word. God created and crafted us into an amazing poem for the world to read, an incredible masterpiece for the world to see. God’s work is not average, it’s excellent!
2. God Deserves Our Best
"In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people." Colossians 3:23 NCV
Joe Theismann had an amazing career as the quarterback of the Washington Redskins. Anyway, he led the team to two Super Bowl appearances - winning in 1983 before losing the following year. When a leg injury forced him out of football in 1985 (Yes, I remember where I was sitting when he broke his leg on Monday Night Football…painful!), he was entrenched in the record books as Washington’s all-time leading passer.
Still, the tail end of Theismann’s career taught him a bitter lesson: “I got stagnant,” He says, “I thought the team revolved around me. I should have known it was time to go when I didn’t care whether a pass hit Art Monk in the 8 or the 1 on his uniform. When we went back to the Super Bowl, my approach had changed. I was griping about the weather, my shoes, practice times, everything. Today I wear my two rings - the winner’s ring from Super Bowl XVII and the loser’s ring from Super Bowl XVIII. The difference in those two rings lies in applying oneself and not accepting anything but the best.”(*1)
I like Theismann’s honesty and transparency in the interview and I like the final comment when describing the difference between the two rings. The difference is applying oneself and not accepting anything but your best.
3. God Expects Our Work To Be An Act Of Worship
"So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship." Romans 12:1 NCV
Our work isn’t work, it’s worship. We should be the hardest worker (yes, that’s different from over-worker, we know who we are) with the best attitude always striving to do our best, to reach our potential because we aren’t working for a church or a company, we are working and worshipping for God.
4. God Requires Our Full Potential
Do not be lazy but work hard, serving the Lord with all your heart. Romans 12:11 NCV
My best guess (plus the recent survey we did) would tell me that most of my readers have never been called the “L” word. You know, La#* (I can’t even spell it). However, I would like to take a look at what “La#*ness” can produce and that’s mediocrity. Being mediocre is being neither very good nor very bad. It's average, ordinary, maybe even apathetic. Who want's to strive for being mediocre? Not me.
Reminder: Excellence does not mean perfection although they are often used together or assumed to be together. A perfectionist would walk through a rose garden and focus on the weed, not the bouquet in front of them. Here are a couple of examples.
Excellence motivates you
Perfectionism paralyzes you
Excellence is a cure
Perfectionism is a disease
Excellence causes success
Perfectionism causes stress
“The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time.”(*2) If your excellence turns out to be perfect, great! But don’t assume that perfectionism is excellence, it’s simply not.
If we have been designed for excellence, with excellence by excellence then we should do excellence, be excellence and perform with excellence. Now, that may not be great grammar but it’s a great truth!
Remember, you don’t have to be THE best, you have to be YOUR best. That’s all God is asking.
So, how are doing with practicing excellence? Do you struggle with excellence vs perfectionism? Have you found a solution to that struggle?
1 Reader’s Digest Excerpt, January, 1992
2 Eating Problems for Breakfast by Tim Hansel, Word Publishing, 1988, Page 39
Photo Credit: shutterstock.com Image ID: 138565244 Copyright: Olivier Le Moal