Slothfulness. We have all been at its peril.
It is almost elusive. There is no obvious evil act committed. But it is the lack of action, the act of omission that is at the root of this condition. There are consequences and someone eventually has to pay. For the sloth, time will reveal its true ways. For the friends and family of sloths, mediocrity puts more on us than we should carry.
Man is told to consider the ways of an ant, learn from it and be wise. We are exhorted to live our lives, “not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;” (Romans 12:11). This is the cure.
There is often a misconception about this word. It is not perfection. They are not the same.
Perfection is the act of being perfect, absolutely flawless, without error, never making any mistakes. Perfection holds on to the reins of control ever so tightly, never letting them go. Her greatest fear? Failing.
Suffocating. Excellence takes the lid off.
Excellence strives to be perfect, giving room for her God-given talents to showcase themselves to the fullest. Failure is her friend, revealing opportunities for improvement. Excellence is a surrender to God.
We can breathe now…
In essence, perfection sets an unreasonable standard too high to achieve. Excellence however, sets a standard that is challenging yet attainable. The former only values the goal but the latter values every step of the journey.
The truth is, we will never attain perfection on this earth. What God requires of us, is an attitude and spirit of excellence. With the spirit of excellence, we set goals, strive for them but leave the results to God. We strive to give our best and not to prove ourselves. Criticism does not bring us down. It reveals learning points and room for improvement. We are grateful for the gifts and talents God has given us. The future and its challenges are never daunting. With God on my side, there is hope. The standard of excellence never wavers because the standard is the unchanging word of God. Ultimately, the person with the spirit of excellence understands that his value and worth is found in God and not in his achievements. He is and forever will be well-loved. He never has to earn it.
Excellence will look different at different stages of our life. It is subjective to the individual and the season of life they are in. Fruit is largely determined by the roots, unseen processes of the tree and its environment. Before we judge the fruit, we must first consider its roots and if perhaps, the fruit it is bearing is already the best of its drought or monsoon season. Our excellence is an attitude that comes from deep inside. Man looks on the outside but God sees the heart. With excellence as the standard, everyone can be excellent! Perfection discriminates but excellence gives everyone equal opportunity. I am not perfect but I can be excellent right where I am!
To be excellent requires faith, discipline and an intrinsic motivation. Great faith begins with great faithfulness. One small step at a time. Every step taken in the right direction builds good routines and disciplines. They eventually become good strongholds, unconquered by slothfulness. Intrinsically, it is our gratitude toward God that makes every thought, attitude and action reflect the wonder of our creator and bring Him glory. He gave me His best. He deserves mine.
He gave me a body with its functions and abilities. His breath keeps me alive. To live a life of excellence begins right at our doorstep. In our screen-filled lives, this body is at the mercy of hyperactivity, adrenaline abuse and sleep deprivation. Research shows that screen time before bed prolongs our brain’s waking hours, preventing the sleeping drug of melatonin to do its magic. We sleep less. As a result, our attention falters, our memory impaired and our ability to work through problems is challenged. This is not the picture of excellence and stewardship.
Our ability to think, process and make decisions is a gift from God that demands our excellent stewardship. When we have mental health, we have stable emotions and will naturally make sound decisions. It all begins with sleep. Turn off your screens 1 hour before bedtime. But don’t stop there. Meditate. Meditate on the word of God day and night. Allow it to cleanse you, renew your mind and heighten your senses.
Be an excellent steward.
Try it. Your best has yet to be.