B. HOW TO BE EXCELLENT?
1. Set a valuable goal
- Without a vision or goal, there is no need to be excellent.
- If the goal is not valuable, we won’t be motivated to achieve it.
The Tower of Babel
Genesis 11:1-6 (ESV) 11 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” 5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Genesis 11:1-6 (ESV)
2 Equip ourselves adequately
- It’s good to work hard. It’s better to work hard and work smart.
- Doing is not good enough. We need to know how to do it well, too.
2.1 To gain knowledge
- Do we know what we do?
Numbers 13:17-20 (ESV) 17 Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan and said to them, “Go up into the Negeb and go up into the hill country, 18 and see what the land is, and whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many,19 and whether the land that they dwell in is good or bad, and whether the cities that they dwell in are camps or strongholds, 20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.Numbers 13:17-20 (ESV)
Acts 22:3 (ESV) “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day.Acts 22:3 (ESV)
Acts 17:16-17 (ESV) 16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.Acts 17:16-17 (ESV)
Acts 17:22-25 (ESV) 22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.Acts 17:22-25(ESV)
2.2 To obtain skills
- It’s not enough to have theory. We need to translate it into action.
Ecclesiastes 10:10 (ESV) If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.Ecclesiastes 10:10 (ESV)
Building the Tabernacle
Exodus 31:2-6 (ESV) “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, 4 to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, 5 in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. 6 And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you:Exodus 31:2-6 ( (ESV)
3 Be in right environments and have right associates
3.1 Right environments
Hebrews 10:25 (ESV) not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.Hebrews 10:25 (ESV)
3.2 Right associates
1 Kings 11:3-6 (ESV) 3 He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. 4 For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done.1 Kings 11:3-6 (ESV)
Proverbs 13:20 (ESV) Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.Proverbs 13:20(ESV)
4 Imitate people of excellence
- Look for a role model.
- Get inspired by them.
John 13:14-15 (ESV) 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.John 13:14-15 (ESV)
John 13:34 (ESV) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.John 13:34 (ESV)
Philippians 2:5 (ESV) Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,Philippians 2:5 (ESV)
1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV) Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV)
2 Th 3:9 (ESV) It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.2 Th 3:9 (ESV)
5 Improve ourselves continuously
5.1 Examine ourselves
- Set aside time to reflect and evaluate.
Psalms 139:23-24 (ESV) 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!Psalms 139:23-24 (ESV)
5.2 Listen to feedback
- Take what is useful.
- Do not take it personally.
Proverbs 1:5 (ESV) Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,Proverbs 1:5 (ESV)
Proverbs 9:9 (ESV) Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; each a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.Proverbs 9:9 (ESV)
Proverbs 11:14 (ESV) Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.Proverbs 11:14 (ESV)
Proverbs 12:15 (ESV)The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.Proverbs 12:15 (ESV)
Proverbs 19:20 (ESV) Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.Proverbs 19:20 (ESV)
Ecclesiastes 4:13 (ESV) Better was a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who no longer knew how to take advice.Ecclesiastes 4:13 (ESV)
5.3 Compete with ourselves
- Break our own record.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (ESV) 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (ESV)
Questions for reflection/discussion
- What are your valuable goals/vision?
- What are the knowledge/skills you need in order to achieve them?
- How can you acquire those knowledge/skills?
- Who is your role model? Why?
- How often do you reflect/plan for your life/ministry? How would you improve on that?
- Is there any area of your ministry that can be improved? How?
- Is there any new task/ministry/challenge you would like to explore? How? When?