Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Pursuit of Excellence

Scripture Texts: 2 Corinthians 8; Psalm 71

Paul tells the church in Corinth he wants them to excel in all the areas of their faith. They have people who excel in faith, speaking, knowledge, enthusiasm and love for others. The desire of Paul is to add generosity to the list. This part of the second letter to the Corinthians is focused around the collection of money that was begun at an earlier time. It is also about giving God your best no matter what the subject matter is.

In Psalm 71, the writer is sharing how God brought the best out of them through challenge and struggle. At the core however, is God helping us to excel in our life. Understand this is not about being successful, or wealthy, or even comfortable. What God desires for all of us is to live fully the life God calls us to live. As the old US Army slogan says it, "To be all you can be."

All of the striving is not even for our own fame and notoriety. God wants us to be our very best so that we will remain connected with God, and bear witness to the greatness of God, not our own. When we excel in living our life fully, as God calls, others will be able to see the mighty work of God. Further, our excelling is not about being better than another person, or benefiting because of someone else's suffering. It all points back to what God has done, is doing, and is preparing us for in the future.

When looking at our marriage the same call to excel is present. There are not many people who strive after a mediocre marriage. Most of us want to excel in marriage and experience all that we can from our marriage. This does not happen without effort. We must cultivate the excellence we desire if we are going to experience the fruit of excellence.

All of the areas Paul wanted the Corinthian church to excel required effort, discipline, and constant learning. Cultivating a marriage that excels requires effort, discipline, and constant learning. This is a lifelong pursuit, and it is not done for our glory, it is for God's glory. Although, when we commit ourselves to seeking an excellent marriage, we experience a fullness of life that is in fact glorious.

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