Last night I slipped over to our church to do some writing while my wife, Becky was in choir practice. They were working on some special music for Resurrection Sunday. While she has been singing solo and with groups for years, she hasn’t been part of a choir for a long time. On the way home I was telling her how happy I am that she gets this opportunity. We began talking about the quality musical leadership they have. The director, Rod is spiritually-focused and musically accomplished as a church choir director. He is extremely qualified on every level to lead choirs to successful ministry, and has done so at very high levels. As they practiced, he would strongly correct and strongly encourage everyone. Rod isn’t just leading them in singing. He is crafting a musical force of excellence to share the greatest truth in song.
I recently saw a quote by NFL coaching legend, Vince Lombardi. He said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” I think many times we go through the motions in our spiritual walk. Because God hasn’t killed us, we feel like we are winning. We have been told that God loves us no matter what, and then we live like that, doing what it takes to get by. Instead, we should be pursuing excellence in our walk with Christ. Jesus didn’t die so you could meet the bare minimum requirements of holiness. He didn’t rise from the dead so you could live a moral life for an hour or two a week during church services. He lived an excellent life so you could live an excellent life. Jesus was not just the perfect sacrifice on the cross, He was the perfect pattern in the market, on the road, and in the garden.
Excellence, whether in music or in morals does not happen just by waking up in the morning. A choir does not become excellent by singing, but by singing well. A person does not become excellent just by going through life, but by going through life well. Excellence comes from the word ‘excel’. To excel is to do better than others. We may not like the idea that we should live in a way that is better than others. After all, this Christian walk isn’t a competition with other people, is it? Well, actually most people are not doing better than average. Many people are literally doing the bare minimum spiritually. Many aren’t doing that. Remember, the bare minimum is never excellent. Great choirs don’t sing as well as everyone else. They sing better than others because they place a high value on putting out the best possible sound. In the area of Christian lifestyle, great Christians don’t live as well as everyone else. They live better than others because they place a high value on living the best possible life Christ bought for them. Excellence does not arrive. Excellence is achieved in the pursuit. Rod knows, as Lombardi knew, that excellence isn’t something you achieve on Sundays. It is something that is achieved out of the spotlight throughout the week, and revealed on Sundays.
The apostle Paul dealt with underachievers and achievers on a regular basis. But he also believed in overachieving Christianity, because He knew the Holy Spirit who enables it. Today is a good day to pursue excellence. Think on Paul’s words to the early Christians, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.
My name is David, and I want to know God more, and help other people find Him.