JustPurpose

The Sands of Time

excellence

When I think about the quality of the impact my life will be remembered for, I always imagine that my works will outlive me. You know, leaving my footprints in the sands of time. I think we all share this aspiration. Perhaps, it is a shared mark of our humanity to seek to create legacies by which we are known even long after we are gone. But how do we go about leaving our footprints of time? How should we live if we will matter beyond our time? What is the secret of men who have by the work of their hands accomplished immortality?

I believe there are no straight jacket answers to these questions. However, creating and maintaining the culture of excellence appears to be a principle that has worked for men across times and borders. The legendary Michelangelo made a practice of excellence. He made mastery his core value and history remembers him for it. But he did not arrive at this point by accident. Once, he said “If  people  knew  how  hard  I  had  to work  to gain  my  mastery, it  would  not  seem  so wonderful at all”

Centuries ago, the great Aristotle quipped that “Excellence is not an act, it’s a habit.” Thus, we will do well to pay attention to this principle once again especially as regards the pursuit of why God has put us here in the first place.

  1. Excel at being who you are

Purpose is first about who we are before what we do. So, embracing excellence must begin with excelling at being who we are. You see, each of us was created by God with a mark of uniqueness that makes us stand out of the crowd. Our pursuit of excellence must first be about living out our uniqueness to the best of our God-given ability. You have to develop a resolve to release all of your deepest potentials before you sign out of this side of eternity. You have to commit yourself to revealing only the best version of you and nothing less.

  1. Excel at doing what you do

Sometime ago, I read an article in which John Maxwell wrote that to gain a reputation for excellence necessitates delivering results whenever you’re called upon. Hit-and-miss performers are neither trusted nor respected. On the other hand, those who repeatedly demonstrate competence gain credibility, and their credibility paves the way to influence. We all must come to the point in which we consistently give our best in all that we do every day irrespective of who is at the receiving end of our actions. Who you work for, the government or yourself, must not be a factor to determine how much effort you will put into your work.

Scripture says a man who is diligent in his work will stand before Kings and not mere men. What this means is that those who consistently deliver excellence in who they are and what they do always become sought after. Because they are constantly improving themselves making sure they are better today than they were yesterday, they never become outdated. They are those whose footprints stay in the sands of time never to be blown away by the wind of forgotten memories.

Blessed? I’ll love to hear your thoughts. Join the conversation.

You matter to me always.

PurposePursuit

The Culture of Excellence

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The Wheel of Excellence. Photo by Padmanabhan' (Paddy) via flickr.

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!

PurposePursuit

Building for the King: Lessons from Huram-Abi

Several efforts and plans were put in place for the task of making a dwelling place for the Most High. It was a very serious work and Scripture records that stones used for the building were first of all pre-finished at the quarry so that no noise was heard at the building site.

My focus in this piece is on a man who got the contract, alongside some others, for the job of building the house of Yahweh. His name was Huram-Abi. His mother was from Dan and his father from Tyre. Let us look very briefly at the personality of Huram-Abi and see what lessons could be gleaned from the life of a man who like us was enrolled in the service of a King. God is building a temple. We are builders with Him and we have to be careful how we build.

1. A man of Great Skill

Hiram, the King of Tyre who recommended Huram-Abi for the job stated that the man was a man of great skill. Huram-Abi was not mediocre. His skills were not ordinary.

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Photo Credit: Matthew Gidley via flickr

Because God is your Creator and the source of your potentials, you are not allowed to be mediocre. It is a taboo. Everything that God made was good not average. God does not make something that is manageable. He makes things that are beautiful. The Psalmist confessed that God had made him beautifully and wonderfully. That is true for you too. Mediocrity is a taboo for a pursuer of Purpose. You should say that to yourself every time you have to handle a task because becoming excellent begins with an attitude of excellence. You have to be great at what you do. You have the capacity to be the best not in comparison with others but in comparison with the potentials that you have.

2. A man of adequate training

It is also in Huram-Abi’s curriculum vitae that he was trained to work in gold, and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. That’s a lot of training!

You cannot be effective in your service in the court of our King if you have not passed through adequate training. I mentioned the Quarry site earlier. God trains his servants. You have to submit yourself to that training to be anything in His hands. The training may be intense; sometimes painful, but it will be worth it. I have found that God’s training is not usually limited to just your spirituality. I believe God trains you to become competent in the area of Character as you conform to the image of his Son. The training also builds in you skills for the pursuit of your life assignment.

3. A man of experience

Huram-Abi was experienced in all kinds of engraving and could execute any design given to him. Experience comes as you put your training to use. It is not enough to know. You must apply your knowledge to acquire some experience of its truth. In the service of our King, versatility is of essence. Versatility is a product of experience. Instead of sitting idle, go for training, and acquire experience.

4. A team player

Huram-Abi was to work with Israel’s craftsmen. All of his other qualities would have been rubbished if he did not know how to work with others.

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Wanna fulfill purpose? how much of a team player are you? Photo Credit: Pink Sushi via flickr

Nobody succeeds alone. Championships are never won by a winning player- they are only won by a winning team. John Wooden said, “The man who puts the ball through the hoop has ten hands.” You have to be able to work well with other labourers in building for our King. You will accomplish only a fraction of your potentials alone.

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes an orchestra to play it.” Halford Luccock.

Thus, it is necessary, that you overcome any kind of insecurity, pride or lack of confidence in people. In the words of John Maxwell, it takes teamwork to make the dream work.

Huram-Abi was a cross-breed, an identity that was not very welcome in His days. Yet, he rose to become a man of relevance. Whatever your excuses have been, they are not good enough. You were made to make an impact. You should not settle for any less!

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This piece is dedicated to one of my favourite bloggers, livelytwist’s Timi Yeseibo. As you add a year to your life, may you continue to inspire and bless the world!

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