Posted by News Express | 5 January 2016 | 2,914 times
Let me touch on another prerequisite for excellence. The beauty that excellence brings to those who have acquired it does not come without a history of previous failures. Excellence, as any other progress, is often built upon the foundations of inevitable failures. There is no one who has ever attained true greatness without having failed or fallen a number of times. King Solomon put it beautifully: “For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again…” Prov. 24:16a.
Another person whose life best exemplifies this truth is Thomas Edison. He said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
As a young 19 year old Christian, I remember I always got agitated and troubled each time I heard stories of great men, especially Christian leaders, who had some failures or fallings. I could not wrap my mind around it. I was always thinking, it is one thing for ordinary Christians to have failures, but how come great men fall? I never could have thought that, actually, excellence is inconceivable without failure – you ask Thomas Edison. Maybe you want to ask the Apostle Paul or Moses. Maybe you want to ask King David or King Solomon. Do you want to ask The Apostle Peter?
Remember my bewilderment and amazement, on how great men could have failures when I was a young believer of 19 years old? Now I am almost 50 years old and you can be sure that my opinions are slightly different now. I have had my own share of failures, despite all the excellence. I can testify that as with all great men, true excellence is impossible without your share of failings.
As I ponder on this paradox, I am reminded of the life of The Apostle Paul. He had the same dilemma. God’s answer to him was profound: “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor. 12: 9.”
When you walk in a level of excellence, it indeed does not make sense for you to remain infallible because if you do, you risk being idolised. Can you imagine if someone is excellent and then perfect? He would be misconstrued to be almost equal to God. That is why God in His infinite wisdom allows some dents in the sculpture of nature. In God’s wisdom, excellence must go through trials. In God’s wisdom, excellence must survive tribulations. In God’s wisdom, excellence must have a form of weakness. In God’s wisdom, excellence must pass through failures and fallings.
“The worst to ever happen to a person who aims at the sky is to fall on the tallest mountain; the best that can happen to a person who aims at the ceiling of his room is to fall on the carpet of his floor.” ― Israelmore Ayivor.
Despite all these seemingly paradoxical characteristics of excellence, it is thanks to them that excellence is possible. Excellence endures and is sustained because of them. These characteristics make a man of excellence to be humble enough, to keep on perfecting himself. They make someone striving for excellence to keep on learning as a result of which their performances soar.
My journey as a student of excellence began in the book of all beginnings. It is called the book of Genesis, chapter one. To me, this chapter teaches us more than anything about the lesson of excellence. What is more compelling about this chapter is that God positions Himself as a God of excellence. He opens our eyes to see that even though a perfect God, yet He does not always do things perfectly from the first attempt.
“Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” Gen. 1:3-5
The first thing God said was “let there be light” and there was light. God did not allow Himself to be overly confident or assume that His first attempt was His best attempt. His drive for excellence pushed Him to reexamine His product despite the fact that He is God. In verse 4, “And God saw the light that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” I see a progression in excellence in this passage. After God’s due process of examination of His product:
He discovered that the light He created was good.
Despite the fact that the light was good, excellence demanded that God looked for a point of improvement on His product.
God saw the need for the light to be improved on.
The point of improvement was that, God noticed that every light carries a form of darkness in it or shadow.
Since light and shadow go together it is clear what the next point of excellence should be.
The light has to be separated from the darkness.
God has already done a great job through the spirit of excellence in this story. But because excellence has become automated in the nature of God, He could not afford to rest on His laurels. So despite the fact that He had already separated the light from the darkness, the nature of excellence demanded that He began to improve on His best effort. His next action was to give an identity to the light and an identity to the darkness. Hence he called the light Day and the darkness Night. That is a totally different product entirely.
God goes beyond this. The Spirit of excellence does not leave you satisfied. It keeps on pushing you to become better, to improve yourself until you push yourself to the limit. From the Day and the Night, God created yet another product called Evening and Morning. Leading us to yet another product, the First Day of the Week.
If you continue to read this chapter one of Genesis, you will be exposed to a lot of truths about the qualities of God in regards to excellence. Even God could not do without excellence. He had to put Himself through all the rigors that excellence demands. Listen, friends, even God could not escape the requirements and the demands of excellence. That is why the conditions of excellence are universal to every profession and in every human endeavour.
If you can pay the price of excellence in any given area of life then you will be able to produce the same performance almost everywhere you go. The request and requirements of excellence are almost the same in all spheres of life. Let’s pursue excellence, not minding what it will cost us. The rewards of it are much more glorious than the price you pay for it.
Excellence has a way of distinguishing you later in life. Excellence has a way of elevating, like nothing else does. Excellence promotes. Excellence decorates. Excellence puts an ointment upon your head. Ladies and gentlemen let us dedicate ourselves to a life of excellence.
•Sunday Adelaja is a Nigerian born leader, Transformation Strategist, Pastor and innovator who lives in Kieve Ukraine. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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