Strive for No Less Than ExcellenceWritten by Sarah Edwards
- Published: March 12, 2018
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Could you classify your Spring 2018 semester as one of good works? As the semester progresses, motivation to produce good work slips away, and the temptation to turn in mediocre work becomes stronger.
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven."
Matthew 5:16 NIV
What are good works? We often think of these works as merely service for others—a kind word or a helpful hand. Have you ever considered that a student’s good works can be seen in their courses? In this sense, good works are comprised of diligent study, marked with integrity, and done with excellence as unto the Lord. In this season of semesters bursting at the seams with projects, presentations, and papers, strive for no less than excellence in all that you do—make this be your good work.
Through good work, we can glorify the name of the Lord, while mediocre work often defames the Lord’s character. His followers are created to set good work as a standard. In so doing, the believer's work is his witness. “Do all the good you can,” charged John Wesley, “by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.”
God has called His followers to abound in good works, and Christ has given us specific gifts and talents in order to advance His Kingdom in a unique way. The follower of Christ must then be focused on this pursuit of Jesus to ensure that he runs the race set before him well, with excellence, without turning back or turning aside, and without delay.
Hide your work under a bushel? No! You, the light of the world, are a light that must not be hidden but set on top of a hill for all to see (Matthew 5:14). “Let your light so shine before men,” commands the Lord, “so that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) Your works, including your study, must shine before men as well, not in a secret room as to let no one look upon it for the express purpose of giving glory to God as the giver of good works.
As the semester grows to be more taxing and draining, putting forth substantial effort into the growing stack of projects becomes more difficult. Be of good courage! There will be times when it seems as though there is nothing good to contribute, but God has a promise for His followers in Isaiah:
“1 Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.”
Isaiah 55:1-2 NIV
Go forth then, follower of Christ, and produce good works for His glory! Strive for no less than excellence, and as you make excellence as unto the Lord your standard, then good works will abound!