The call to excellence may seem like a heavy burden. How can I be excellent in every area of my life? Fortunately, God is not calling us to do what he hasn’t made or empowered us to do. Excellence is working to the best of your ability in the areas and ways God has called you to.
In the last post, we saw that Christians are called to pursue excellence in all areas of life. Pursuing excellence means to effectively steward the gifts and opportunities God has given to you. This brings glory to God—because he made you with certain abilities—and it shows him gratitude for making you the way he did. We also saw that the pursuit of excellence is a powerful way to love others by your excellent service to them. Lastly, pursuing excellence causes you to be more like Jesus, who is excellent in every way. In this post, we will consider some of the ways we can be excellent and some of the warnings about our pursuit of excellence.
How can I be excellent at everything?
The call to excellence may seem like a heavy burden. How can I be excellent in every area of my life? Fortunately, God is not calling us to do what he hasn’t made or empowered us to do. Excellence is working to the best of your ability in the areas and ways God has called you to. Not everyone is equally gifted, nor does everyone have the same responsibilities. Frustration comes when we try to do things we aren’t made for or meant to do. This doesn’t mean we can shirk the responsibilities we don’t like—like changing diapers or shovelling the driveway. Nor does it mean we can avoid tasks we find difficult to do, especially in the areas of the Christian call to proclaim the gospel and make disciples. There are also areas in life that the Lord challenges and stretches us. Nevertheless, God is ultimately calling us to steward the gifts and opportunities he has given specifically to us.
If God is calling us to excellence, then he is also calling us to lean on him to make it happen. In the book of Exodus, for example, the artist Bezalel was called by God to design and create beautiful and functional furnishings for the Tabernacle. The call to make art for worshipping a holy God was a call to excellence. Producing mediocre work was out of the question. God not only calls Bezalel to do excellent work, but he also empowers him to be excellent at it. In Exodus 31:1–6, we read that God filled Bezalel “with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship” for him “to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.” Although Bezalel’s call is unique in the biblical narrative, there is still an important application here for us: God not only makes each of us with specific gifts and abilities, but also empowers us to use them. Humble, prayerful dependence on the Spirit of God should always be the central pillar in your pursuit of excellence.
Not a solo act
As we depend on the Spirit of God, we also need the people of God. The Christian call to excellence is not a solo act. If you are a Christian, then you are connected to the body of Christ in your local church. The “living stones” surrounding you are there to help complement and augment your efforts in the areas you can’t do as well on your own. Married couples know firsthand how true this is! Just as husband and wife complement each other’s gifts and abilities, so too do members of the church. In the church, God provides various gifts and abilities to different people. Each member, like the parts of a human body—the eyes, ears, hands, feet—all complement and support each other. With each member functioning excellently at what they are made and gifted to do, the church can achieve more than what one member could have done on his or her own. In our hyper-individualistic culture, even Christians sometimes forget that God designed his kingdom to go forth through local communities of believers. Spirit-dependent Christians rely on God by relying on his church. God is calling you to be excellent in the areas he has equipped you, whether you are a teacher, a server, an encourager, a musician, an artist, a carpenter, a homemaker, etc.—but none of these jobs can be done in a vacuum. God is not calling you to do it all by yourself!