In 1 Kings 10, we read about King Solomon’s rise to power and greatness. It says, “King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind” (1 Kings 10:23-24). To be excellent is to be competent, brave, strong, great, outstanding or extraordinary. Solomon was an extraordinary man of great wealth and wisdom, “Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him” (Daniel 6:3), an outstanding wife “is the crown of her husband” (Proverbs 12:4), and believers are to be great “in faith, in speech, in knowledge, [and] in all earnestness” (2 Corinthians 8:7).
Biblical excellence is rooted in this important fact: any and all achievements of bravery, greatness and competence are a gracious gift from God for the purpose of bringing glory back to God.
As leaders, we strive to be excellent in our faith, ministry, work, relationships and dealings. However, excellence is not manufactured, created or manipulated for personal gain or achievement. It’s a gracious gift from God for the purpose of building up the church (1 Corinthians 14:12) in the image of our perfectly excellent Lord.
When we strive for excellence, we are committing ourselves to the process of sanctification, God’s on-going work by way of the Holy Spirit to renew us towards holiness and perfection. The Lord gives (entrusts) each of us with special gifts and talents to be used in His kingdom, and it’s the role of the Holy Spirit to lead us to continuously improve, strengthen, and grow in the competency of those gifts so that we may become excellent in them. Excellence matters because these God-given gifts and talents will be used and perfected in our glorified state in the heavenly life to come. They have a distinct eternal purpose. Our pursuit of excellence by the grace of God today gives the world a glimpse of the hope we have for tomorrow.
As leaders and disciples of Jesus, we have a responsibility to strive for excellence in the variety of gifts, talents and disciplines that God has given to us to shoulder for the purpose of building up His church.