before dawn to pack his lunch, eager for morning to arrive
so he can board the city bus that transports him to his job
at a souvenir production facility. From 8:00 a.m. until 5:00
p.m., Joey applies decals to souvenir collector spoons. Much
like an artist applying brush to canvas, Joey peels a self-sticking
decal from its wrapper, painstakingly centers it over the
base of the spoon and slowly presses it on the metal. If the
decal is not perfectly centered, he peels it off and starts
over. Joey glows with pride over the racks of completed spoons,
ready to be packaged for shipping to retail stores.
Joey has Down Syndrome. Though he will never become the chairman of a Fortune 500 company and it's unlikely he will ever win an Academy Award or a Pulitzer price, Joey is an outstanding sucess and a source of continual pride and joy to his heavenly Father.
think of Joey, I feel shame for all the times when I have
given less than my best. I'm also inspired to re-commit myself to the pursuit of excellence in everything that I do.
parable of the five talents, Jesus taught the importance of
investing our gifts and resources to the best of our ability.
Three people received three different amounts of money, "each
according to his ability." Later, each was asked to account
for what they did with their money.
the three that doubled their money through wise investments
were commended by the master, "You have been faithful
with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things."
The one who buried his money was called a, "wicked and
lazy servant." Worse, the master took away what little
he had and gave it to one of the faithful servants (Mat. 25:14-28).
excellence, we must shun mediocrity, despising it as a sinister
enemy and guarding against its intrusion into our attitudes
and endeavors. As the late Jamie Buckingham wrote, "The
risk-free life is a victory-free life. It means lifelong surrender
to the mediocre. And that is the worst of all defeats."
determined to shun mediocrity will, at times, need the courage
to stand alone. Many people feel threatened by visionaries;
they may intentionally or unintentionally discourage you.
They may undermine your dreams. Seek out friends who are also
visionaries so you can share mutual encouragement and support.
key to shunning mediocrity is to never compare ourselves with
others. At the end of my life, I will not be asked, "Why
were you not Sara, or Jennifer, or Candace?" I will be
asked, "Were you Judy? Were you faithful to be the woman I created you to be."
To achieve excellence, we must clarify our purpose. It's difficult
to give our best when we lack vision.
were ho-hum during high school and the first two years of
my post-secondary education. I could have achieved honors
with minimal effort, but I rarely studied. It wasn't until I
discovered my passion - writing - and transferred to journalism
studies that I exerted effort and strived for excellence.
My grades soared and I achieved honors. Once I discovered
my passion, it was easy to give my best.
I'm not trying to excuse my poor study habits -- I admit they reflected laziness and immature character. Nevertheless, discovering
your purpose will have a catalytic impact on motivating you to a greater commitment to excellence.
is often revealed through our passions, for God places desires
in our hearts. What excites you? What stirs joy in your heart?
What motivates you? What inspires creativity and ideas and
vision? The answers to these questions will provide key clues to understanding your purpose. Most important, pray
and ask God to help you understand your purpose.
excellence means we must know our source. Even before we were
born, we were impregnated with the seeds of divine potential.
Yet those seeds can remain dormant.
Consider the majestic oak tree. It's hard to believe it all started with a tiny seed. It's even more amazing to realize that seed contained all the genetic material necessary to develop into a mature tree. Still, for that seed to germinate and grow it required the right environmental
conditions, including moisture and nutrients from the soil, and sunshine.
purpose operates on a similar principle. Though God places seeds of potential in each one of us, those seeds require the right spiritual environment
in order to germinate and grow.
The Bible says, "The people
who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits"
the most important key to excellence and fulfilled potential
is to develop a more intimate relationship with God. As we
draw closer to Him, we receive clearer vision and understanding
of our unique purpose. Vision ignites a passion to fulfill
our purpose; from that passion flows the commitment
to invest our gifts and resources in serving others.
image-bearers, let's despise mediocrity. Let's seek to be
more passionate, creative and excellent in everything we do.
Let's refuse the well-travelled path of mediocrity, predictability
and conformity; instead choosing the less-travelled path of
faith, courage and risk.
discover your purpose and remain connected to your Source
- and everything you do will be reflect the excellence of
Rushfeldt is an author, speaker, and online
magazine publisher who has been writing for 25
years. Her passion is to inspire and equip women
to reach their dreams. Her latest book, Making
Your Dreams Your Destiny - a woman's guide to
awakening your passions and fulfilling your purpose,
is now available in quality bookstores. You may
also order online with your credit card or by
mail, fax or toll-free telephone by clicking here:
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