24 Feb The Essence of Excellence
Espirit de corps or comradeship is some of the buzz words depicting a form of closeness, oneness, and togetherness in human relationships. Following Christ means love, righteousness, service, and these can only be achieved and expressed through relationships. That’s why Billy Graham Says “Christianity is a religion of fellowship”. UESI has therefore a biblical pursuit in having its Aim on fellowship.
In an objective sense, faith means the body of truth which God has revealed. It is the sum of Christian teaching. A person who holds this mentioned faith is often known as an ‘Evangelical’ that is the reason we call ourselves Evangelical students/graduates. Evangelicals are followers of the Bible, having born-again experience, careful about their life, pursuing good works and, living a life above reproach.
The body of Jesus’ followers as a whole is the community of the “called-out ones” (the origin of the ecclesia, the Greek word for church). As Paul wrote the followers of Christ in the little town of Colosse, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Not only is every believer called to Christ, but we are also all called to play a part in God’s mission in the world. Throughout the Bible, God has called his people both to enjoy being with him and to join with him in his global mission wherever we are and whatever we are. Sometimes God may call us to a particular area of ministry. Youth, Children, Village, Tribal ministry, Professional ministries like Doctors, Nurses, Lawyers, Engineers, and Teachers. As followers of Christ, we also have to show excellence, which is also service unto God.
The Essence of Excellence
Excellence in academics may not be always the same as success in studies or professions. ”Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value,” said Albert Einstein. People appreciate excellence, like things that are excellent whether that is Samsung or Nokia. People have an appetite for excellence and pursue excellence, that’s why today we have TCS, Infosys, Microsoft, Del, Wipro, as icons of professional Excellency and IIMs, IITs, XLRI, AIIMS, CMC, AFMC as symbols of academic excellence.
—whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. – Phil 4:8
But eagerly desire the greater gifts, and now I will show you the most excellent way – I Cor. 12:31
To strive for excellence means to do our best, and to be content to leave the rest to God; to strive for excellence means to live at peace with God, knowing that we are giving with His help – our best efforts; to use our gifts to the best of our ability, but ultimately putting people first; to work like this ”whatever you do, work it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” Col 3:23 to humble dependence on God for our abilities, strength, and results and to give Him glory; to live in contentment and peace, knowing that God is pleased because we are working for Him and doing our best.
No doubt our God is God of our personal life and professional life. Those who excel, work with enthusiasm (Col. 3:23), sharpen their skills (Ecc. 10:10) Developing, growing, learning & improving their skills for His glory. People who excel keep their word (Prov. 20:6) maintain a positive attitude (Phil. 2:14-15; Ecc. 10:4), and do more than that is expected. (Mt. 5: 41). The world needs a new vision focusing on health than the economy, on people than processes, on the mission than money, stewardship than ownership, leadership than authority, and on relationships than religion. We know that without faith, without depending on God it is impossible to please God. Faith is an important element in Christian life. There is no exaggeration that our faith should be shown in our conduct and our academics or profession.
The Entrust of Excellence
God has entrusted these magnificent tools to all who bear His image, and we are called to use them for our good and His glory. It is disconcerting that many–perhaps most–of the world’s leading scholars fail to see or acknowledge the deep story that grounds their work and gives it meaning. But God still uses these brilliant minds–even in their rebellion–to carry forth His purposes in the world. And they praise Him unwittingly. In turn, we have every reason to praise God when we have the privilege to observe a well-crafted essay, an elegantly formulated economic equation, a deftly engineered machine, or carefully constructed ethnography. Even if the hands and the brains behind these wonders have no interest in the things of God, these works bear something of His goodness and His beauty.
- People who excel, work with enthusiasm (Col. 3:23)
- People who excel, sharpen their skills (Ecc. 10:10) Developing, growing, learning & improving
- People who excel, keep their word (Ps. 15:4)
- Reliability beats talent in the long run
- People who excel maintain a positive attitude (Phil. 2:14-15; Ecc. 10:4)
- People who excel, do more than that what is expected. (Mt. 5: 41)
Academic disciplines are not merely bodies of knowledge and skills. They also rely on and help advance certain kinds of virtues. It’s easy to forget about these underlying virtues when we think about studying algebra or doing our Spanish homework, but good disciplinary practices are impossible without them: humility in the face of vast and complicated data; charity when encountering new or objectionable ideas; honesty as we discover results that don’t fit our presuppositions; courage to ask difficult questions, to face ridicule or antagonism for upholding unpopular or unexpected conclusions, and to change one’s mind; compassion in the face of human suffering and cruelty; patience when working on projects with people who are irritating or lazy; and diligence as we face a long semester filled with a pile of difficult assignments that seem beyond our ability to complete. To showcase our faith, some of the examples we must live as:
Holy as a Saint (Rom 1:7, I Cor 1:2)
Pungent as a Salt (Mat 5:13)
True as a Light (5:14)
Legible as an Epistle (2 Cor 3:2)
Valiant as a Soldier (2 Tim 2:3)
Obedient as a Child (I Pet 1: 14, 15)
Excellence invariably is born out of discipline. Excellence is about choice-making. Every moment of every day we are in a decision making process. The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor. We should remember God is the origin of our excellence because he is excellent in his being. Excellence is service unto God, which makes work praise worthy (Mt 5:16) we are to live in such a way that our work becomes praiseworthy Let us remember in His big picture everything is in perfect alignment. His ways are beyond our limited ability to understand and to trace. May the Lord help us to equip and enable us to serve Church and Society for the extension of His kingdom through our academics/profession.
Dr Israel Raju did his masters and doctoral degree from Andhra University, working as Professor (MBA), actively involved in student ministry for the last three decades, residing in Guntur (AP) with wife Beulah n blessed with 2 children Hadassah and Enoch both finished their graduation.