I came across the word “Stradivarius” recently and it got me thinking. I undertook a little research via Wikipedia, and found out that a Stradivarius is one of the violins, violas, cellos and other string instruments built by members of the Stradivari (Stradivarius) family, particularly Antonio Stradivari, during the 17th and 18th centuries, arguably unrivaled till the present day.
The name Stradivarius is synonymous with fine violins. This is true because Antonius Stradivarius insisted that no instrument constructed in his shop be sold until it was as near perfect as human care and skill could make it. Stradivarius observed, “God needs violins to send His music into the world, and if any violins are defective God’s music will be spoiled.” His work philosophy was summed up in one sentence: “Other men will make other violins, but no man shall make a better one.”
The pursuit of God’s purpose for our lives is God’s strategy to manifest His manifold wisdom and grace on earth. Jesus said we are to let our light so shine before men that they will see our works and glorify our Father in Heaven. This tells me that the quality of whatever we do in the pursuit of our purposes must be such that we are unfit to take the glory because they clearly point to a touch of excellence that can only be divine.
Booker T. Washington says that excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way. Mediocrity is not a fruit of the spirit. What God expects from us to fulfill His calling over our lives is to pursue a culture of excellence. I’ll highlight three tips that can help us attain the kind of excellence that glorifies God.
One, we must learn to let God take the lead. Scripture records that after the creation in Genesis, God always took a look at what he did, and each time he did, he saw that it was good. God is the most consistently excellent role model we can have and if we let Him lead our lives we can be sure that our obedience can yield nothing less than excellence.
Two, we must believe that excellence is attainable regardless of the standards set by our environment. Mediocrity is primarily a mindset. We must think excellently to do excellently. Many Christians believe they have to cut corners to be the best at what they do. Since they can’t, they settle for a life below par. Truth is the path of righteousness is not inconsistent with excellence. In fact, believers have an advantage in the person of the Holy Spirit to excel in all they do. He that is above is above all!
Three, we must learn to associate with excellence. When you see someone doing a thing well, find out the secret of their success. Excellence is the result of the right application of principles. You have to actively seek knowledge and grow to attain the heights. Be open to criticisms. Like my coach would always say, there are no failures, only feedbacks.
Martin Luther King Jr. once observed that if a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even like a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’ You can be all that God has called you to be. You can be the best at what you do if you will resist mediocrity, following God’s lead and embracing the culture of excellence!