“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16, AMP]
When I was 10 years old, my family visited my grandfather in the “village” for a big family celebration. During our stay, I was asked to sweep the area where guests would be seated. I was feeling very proud of my sweeping skills until my thoughts were interrupted with shouts from my dad and uncle, “What are doing? Look behind you. Is that how you sweep?” What made it worse was when my late grandfather said to my dad, “Your children are ‘citified’ and cannot do basic things”. I saw the look of disappointment on my dad’s face as he told me to re-sweep, and to get it right this time. After that incident, he took me aside and said “Opokua, is that how I trained you? Work half-done is work not done at all.” That was all it took for me to change my work ethics and to strive for excellence in all that I do. Each time I wanted to do something, his words rang so loudly in my ears, and I resolved that I was going to do things right the first time, even if it took more effort and time.
Displaying excellence in our lives is very important because we have a Spirit of excellence at work in us. Once you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you have an excellent spirit – that same spirit that made Daniel stand apart from his peers. The man Daniel was a foreigner, and yet not only did he stand before kings when he came into this foreign land, he eventually to become prime minister because of his excellent spirit. The Bible says, “then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm” [Daniel 6:3, KJV]. Could this be said of you, or are you said to have a laissez-faire attitude towards things in life and towards work – just doing things anyhow and in any way. Daniel did not do things anyhow because it is said of him that he was “skillful in wisdom, discernment and understanding, apt in learning knowledge, competent to stand and serve in the king’s palace” [Daniel 1:4, KJV].
Exhibiting an excellent character and culture doesn’t automatically happen because you have an excellent Spirit. It is something you need to train yourself in. It is your responsibility to yield yourself to the Holy Spirit and let Him work in and through you, to translate that Spirit of excellence into a culture of excellence. Without it, you will be full of the Holy Ghost and live a sub-par life, experiencing unnecessary challenges and losing out on big promotions and responsibilities, due to lack of excellence. Understand that you cannot be entrusted with big things if you were not faithful and diligent in the little things. However, this should not be your testimony as a Christian, in your academics, job, ministry, home or anything associated with you. The Lord said “let your light so shine” and He would not have asked us to do so if it were not possible.
Excellence is not perfection, but maturity and consistency in the way you do things. It is a training you need to give to yourself especially when you come from a society that lacks it. It starts with the little things – picking up litter even if it is not yours, or not throwing litter on the floor. It starts with the little things such as saying, “thank you” and “please”. It shows in your ability to go above and beyond in all that you do even if you are not asked. Being excellent is being diligent in all your affairs, it is in being detailed-oriented. It is ensuring that both the little and big things are done right. It is in continuous improvement and consistency in programs.
Everyone has a fingerprint; their unique signature associated with how they carry out tasks. If we were all given rooms to sweep, you wouldn’t need to announce which room you swept. Just by observation, the judge would be able to tell which room you swept, from studying you for a while. What fingerprint trail are you leaving behind, because that is the testimony you are leaving to your world? That is the testimony that will announce your arrival before you show up at any place. Especially when you have publicly declared that you are a Christian, that fingerprint would be the measure by which the world would judge your Christianity (whether fairly or not).
The word for the month of September has gone forth, but remember it is only the diligent and excellent man who will stand before kings. Will YOU be one of those who will stand before kings?