Over the last 10 years or so I have noticed a concerted effort in the church and among kingdom-minded business leaders to “do things in excellence” as a way of honoring God with what we’ve been given while demonstrating good stewardship of the resources he’s given us. This is a worthy endeavor and a mantra that should continue to spread among Christians who want to shine as lights in a crooked and perverse generation. Much of our witness to the world has been compromised through a lack of diligence, honesty and common sense when conducting our affairs in the marketplace and in our church buildings. I’m hopeful that this trend is being corrected.
We have many shining examples in the Scriptures of men who honored God with their excellence…I’m thinking of Joseph and Daniel to name a couple. Both of these men were able to do great things for God while maintaining their integrity and outperforming the competition of their day. When studied carefully you will find that this excellence was attributed (by them and others) to God and the Holy Spirit empowering them to think, act and steward earthly things in a heavenly way that brought blessing and life to all!
This is the desire! That God’s spirit would actually empower and enable us to solve the world’s problems, to bring life and blessing through heavenly solutions all while modeling a heart of humility and grace to those around us.
However, if our excellence can be explained by our own resume, hard work or diligence then it might not be kingdom excellence! If our excellence is accomplished in the same way the world accomplishes excellence then we are lowering the standard of true kingdom excellence. When our work and fruit is so far superior to our own ability and competence then God gets the glory. It becomes apparent to all that the output from the human vessel can only be attributed to the divine!
This in no way negates our resume, hard work or diligence, in fact those things are expressions of gratitude for what God has given us. These are necessary but in a sense this is only worldly excellence! The world can work hard, be diligent and build a resume. But we, as the people of God, have access to the Spirit of God! This access can and will produce results that no amount of work, intelligence or natural ability could accomplish. But how do we access this heavenly excellence?
When in doubt, look at Jesus!
Jesus said, “I can do nothing on my own.”
Ponder this with me for a moment.
God in the flesh. Jesus Christ. The Ancient of Days. The Alpha and the Omega. The one who raised the dead, healed the sick and loved like no other. He says, “I can do nothing on my own.” If somehow a newborn baby could say this we would all nod in agreement and rejoice in such self awareness. But this is a grown man of God! No, a grown God as a man! He says again, “the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” (John 5:19)
In the world excellence is tied to diligence.
But in the kingdom, excellence is tied to dependence.
This dependence in no way negates diligence! Our dependence upon God is what qualifies us to access and utilize the resources of God to bless the world around us!
How encouraging is it that we are hard-wired by God to rely upon him? We are not designed to go off on our own and try our best! God’s design for us is dependence! The love and good works that God desires from us are designed to flow from a heart of dependence. So as we continue to press on to excellence, let us not forget our dependence upon Him!