THOUGHTS ON THE LORD’S DAY
“Spirit of Excellence vs.Excellence of Spirit.”
They may sound similar, but they are miles apart if you get them in the wrong order. Mark 7:37 says, “He (Jesus) has done all things well.” Excellence means the state of excelling, superiority, or eminences. I have heard all my life, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” However, I have learned the hard way that striving to do things with a spirit of excellence without excellence of spirit leads to disappointment at best or worse, disaster.
The builders of the Tower in Genesis 11 operated with a spirit of excellence, desiring to make a name for themselves, attempting to get to God without God, in the name of God. However, God saw their lack of His Spirit and outright disobedience to His desire to spread out and populate the entire earth. God came down and froze their assets, confused their ability to communicate, brought descension to their ranks causing them to scatter and abort their mission. Why? Because a spirit of excellence without an excellent spirit never brings glory to God, but to man.
King David in 1 Chronicles 21 fell into pride and arrogance by counting the number in his army before going to war instead of seeking the Lord and fully trusting Him. That little act of disobedience cost thousands of lives. King Herod in Acts 12, when the people attributed the spirit of excellence to him in a speech saying that he spoke with the voice of god not man. As a result, because he did not glorify the true God, he was struck dead and worms consumed him on the spot. Daniel 6 says, Daniel was distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps because an “excellent spirit was in him.”
Without an excellent spirit within a person, their desire to do things with a spirit of excellence is about making a name for themselves, not bringing glory to God’s name. Doing things well without an excellent spirit is a work of the flesh and soon becomes burdensome and leads many times to burnout. An excellent spirit carries liberty and joy. It will release a major investment in the lives of people who in return, will do everything well, bringing glory to God.
Hebrews 8:6 says Jesus obtained a “more excellent ministry,” not a ministry of excellence. Inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, because it was established on better promises, not a better performance. The spirit of excellence is often about appearance, the look and public presentation that focuses on the efforts of men. The excellent spirit always originates from within and puts the attention on the greatness of our God.
Daniel was promoted because his performance was superior. But the source and motivation for his performance was also superior to all others. If you maintain an excellent spirit within, doing things with a spirit of excellence will never be in doubt as long as you don’t forget the order. If you forget, trust me, God has some very effective ways to remind you.