Excellence

A racehorse that consistently runs just a second faster than another horse is worth millions of dollars more. (H. Jackson Brown Jr)

In his book Thriving on Chaos Tom Peters states that in today’s turbulent markets the only way to be successful is to not only stand out, but to stand “way” out.  Which brings me to the question of how it is possible to be “way” better than others in what we do?

Jim Collins in Good to Great says that we should do what we are really talented at.  He calls it “what you can be the best in the world at.”  He argues that just because you possess a core competence doesn’t necessarily mean you can be the best in the world at it, and furthermore, what you can be the best at might not even be something in which you are currently engaged. (p95)

“Without underlying talent, training won’t create a strength” says Marcus Buckingham in Now Discover Your Strengths. He goes further  and states that “Skills determine if you can do something, whereas talents reveal something more important: how well and how often you can do it.” (p51)  And it seems to me that excellence has got to do with “how well and how often you can do something.”

In An Enemy Called Average John L Mason warns that many people neglect the gifts that God has placed within them. He says that it is amazing how some people can devote their entire lives to a field of endeavor or a profession that has nothing to do with their inborn talents. Many people spend their whole lifetime trying to change who God has made them. (p17) In Rom 12:6 we read “… let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.”  (MSG)

Moses spoke to his people concerning the building of the Tabernacle of God in Ex 35:10 and said: “All who are gifted artisans among you shall come and make all that the Lord has commanded.”  He did not call on everyone who wanted to join hands to help, but on all who had the gift to be an artisan.  God gifted each person with certain talents and our job is to recognize the gifts that God has placed within each one of us.  In Ex 35:31 Moses spoke about Bezalel when he mentioned that “God has filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, …” and also :34 “and He has put in his heart the ability to teach …” (NKJV)

Daniel seems to be another man that was gifted by God for the work God intended him to do. In Dan 6:3 it is written; “Then Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him.”  An excellent spirit? God’s excellent Spirit was in Daniel.

God gifted these people for His specific purposes. I believe that it is the same for each of us.  God has gifted each one for a specific purpose which He has planned.  Paul in Eph 2:10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  So it seems to me that excellence starts with the gifts or talents that God has placed within each one of us and according to Rom 11:29 “… the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”

But then we also need to do our part.  An anonymous quote reads “Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.” Tom Peters in one of his books says that attitude is everything and Ralph Marston said ‘Excellence is not a skill.  It is an attitude.”  But there is a higher purpose to work for as the apostle Paul says in Col 3:23 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”

Do you know how you are gifted?  And do you have that attitude?

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2 Sam 12:25 “So he called his name Jedidiah because of the Lord.”

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