I’ve been thinking a lot about excellence lately. We all appreciate and admire athletes, musicians and others who make the necessary sacrifices to become excellent in their field. There is something about excellence that turns us on!
Definition of “excellent”: extremely good, superior, outstanding, among the best in it is class-but not perfect
The pursuit of excellence is an important aspect of being a true follower, a true disciple of Yeshua. I’m not just talking about excellence in our careers, but to be excellent examples of the type of life, character and priorities Yeshua manifested when He walked the land of Israel 2,000 years ago.
Is it on your radar to be an excellent follower and disciple of Yeshua?
Are you pursuing His ways as revealed in Scripture? Seeking to make His priorities your priorities? Do the things that break His heart break yours, and do the things that rejoice His heart rejoice yours? Are you sincerely concerned about the eternal destiny of those who do not know His love and salvation? Yeshua gave His life for you, me and them!
Following and serving the King of Kings, the Creator of the universe is a holy privilege and a wonderful opportunity. There is nothing on this earth that we should put more heart and effort to then being an outstanding follower of Yeshua. The best things of life flow out of an intimate walk with Yeshua! Indeed, it is the best life to live!
Rabbi Shaul, the Apostle Paul exhorts us to “approve what is excellent”. Let us approve what is excellent, first for our own lives, and then for others through our example
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless…. filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Yeshua the Messiah, to the glory and praise of God.” — Philippians 1:9-11
What Paul seems to be saying here is that if we keep growing in the love of God, our ability to discern what is excellent in His sight will be sharp, so sharp that we will be filled with the fruit of righteousness and our lives will bring praise to God.
A few other things worth pointing out. First, this is a process, a process that will continue for as long as we live on this earth. Second, God has his part – we can’t do this in our own strength we need His righteousness, His Spirit and His grace daily. Third, we have our part – we need to make a daily decision to be an excellent follower.
Today I’d like to call your attention to 2 aspects of our walk with Yeshua – 2 Calls to Excellence:
A Call to be Committed to Excellence in Manifesting Godly Character.
Character is who you are. Contrary to the values of the world, the Scriptures teach us that more than our gifts and talents, more than our accomplishments, it is our character that defines us. What kind of investments are you making in this area of your life?
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony… let the peace of Messiah rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body…be thankful.” — Colossians 3:12-15
A Call to be Committed to Excellence in Living a Lifestyle of Sacrificial Service for the Benefit of Others.
“But whoever wants to be great among you shall be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10: 43-45
“Sitting down, He called the Twelve and said to them, “If any man wants to be first, he shall be least of all and the servant of” Mark 9:35
Yeshua is our example. When we examine His life we see that He lived a life of love, a lifestyle of sacrificial giving and service for the benefit of others. We see that he treated people with grace. And He gives you and me grace to follow His example.
Yeshua and His Kingdom priorities should have first place and center in our lives. May it never be that we give Him and His Kingdom our leftovers. Let us pursue excellence in our walk with our Lord.
Sincerely yours and His,
Rabbi Stewart Winograd