BlogPost

17 Oct

I have procrastinated over scribing this to you all for some time now so I know that this message which was  given by Brother Chiemezie some months ago needs to be circulated.  The  second half of the year has seen us come to the end of July and some of us indeed are tired and perhaps a bit disillusioned when remembering our great expectations for 2016.  We need to ask ourselves, however, whether we have the SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE.

INTRODUCTION

Excellence has been defined as the quality of being outstanding.  To be outstanding means to be above average and to stand out from the crowd. Now, can we truly say that we have strived to stand out from the crowd and if we have, to what crowd are we referring?  That of the world or simply wherever we find ourselves? The opposite of being excellent is to be mediocre. Even the word alone – “mediocre,” has an onomatopoeic effect that denotes something below average, something I would call “BLAAAHHHH!”  and something I would sternly warn my children against being.

Brother Chiemezie explained that the Spirit of Excellence is a spirit of transformation and the very Spirit of God. We know that we were fashioned out of dust  and that God  breathed upon us in Genesis 2:7  and that we are the clay in the hands of God who is the potter as seen in Isaiah 64:7 and Jeremiah 18:3-5.  We also know that everything God made was good so it is not possible for us to be mediocre if we have the very Spirit of God active within us which was breathed upon us and is the very Spirit which hovered over the earth in Genesis and brought forth creation. Indeed, we cannot be anything less of excellent if we are truly being the clay in the potter’s hand surrendering to His Will in our lives.

This Spirit of Excellence or Spirit of transformation is seen in Philippians 4:8 which encourages us to fill our “minds with whatever is truthful, holy, just, pure, lovely and noble” whileRomans 12:2 talks of being “transformed through the renewal of your mind.”  There are several examples in the bible of this Spirit of Excellence dwelling within people such as Moses who was a formidable leader in spite of being a stammerer.  There was also  Peter who denied Jesus when questioned by a maid, but ended up converting 3000 people in a single day and there was also Nehemiah who rebuilt the broken walls of Jerusalem in a mere 52 days, thus restoring hope to a people and paving the way for God to dwell again in Jerusalem. All these great feats could not have been possible without the Spirit of Excellence and so we must ask ourselves, do we have such a Spirit. 

SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE IN DANIEL

When looking at persons in the bible that displayed the Spirit of Excellence, Brother Chiemezie stressed the person of Daniel. Daniel 6:1-4 saw it  recorded that “because of the extraordinary spirit residing in him, Daniel excelled above all the other administrators.”  Indeed, he went on to explain that the qualities of Daniel were such that we as Christians should ask ourselves whether we possess such and if we don’t, we should strive to possess this same spirit in the last half of this year.  Daniel did not give any excuses and was a  trustworthy and non-corrupt man with personal integrity.  He was a man that excelled since he put the things of God first and did not involve himself in things that were sub-standard or mediocre. 

SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE IN JOSEPH

Joseph is another person in the bible who possessed the Spirit of Excellence which can be seen in his resolution not to hold malice as a result of the ill treatment meted out on him.Genesis 41:14 shows the transformative power of this Spirit of God which can be seen in Joseph insisting to come before the king cleanly shaven and not shabbily as would have been expected of one fresh out of the dungeons.  The humble nature of Joseph and his acknowledgement of God publicly is another quality that demonstrates his Spirit of Excellence, as he denied that he was able to interpret the dream by himself in Genesis 41:16. Joseph’s ability to listen attentively to the king to seek to understand and to eventually discern the meaning of the dream is an attribute that we must all seek to acquire.  Those that have the Spirit of Excellence are slow to talk and eager to listen to understand.  They also go the extra mile to go beyond what is ordinarily required of them as Joseph did by advising the king of the next steps to take to avoid the famine as seen in Genesis 41:33-36.

There is no doubt that the Spirit of Excellence is indeed a spirit that all must yearn to acquire, for it not only enables people to see God’s glory through us, but it also shines forth and makes us become the solution to people’s problems as Joseph ended up being.  Proverbs 22:29 assures us that a diligent man with this same spirit will stand before kings “Do you see a man diligent {and} skillful in his business? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”

HOW TO FAN INTO FLAME THE SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE

Brother Chiemezie suggested the following  ways in which we could sustain the Spirit of Excellence; the very Spirit of God which was breathed into our nostrils to give us life and excel in all things:

1. We are called to meditate on Philippians 4:8 and fill our “minds with whatever is truthful, holy, just, pure, lovely and noble“.

2. We are also called to bring forth the light of God, for it is in so doing that we put God’s things first and become the clay in the potter’s hand.

3. We must also try and find Jesus in our work always, as Proverbs 22:29 assures us that diligence will surely bring us reward and make us stand before kings

4. We must also ensure that we go the extra mile and complete what is expected of us in order to perfect it,. Hunting is not a lazy man’s job at all, however, Proverbs 12:48 states that a“lazy man does not roast meat he took in hunting”  and that diligence is a precious possession, so we must perfect our work to avoid being considered lazy and mediocre.

5. We must also strive first to understand before being understood as shown by Daniel patience and attention to the King’s worries.

CONCLUSION

So brethren, I ask you again – do you possess this Spirit of Excellence?  This very Spirit of God was breathed upon you to give you life, it was sealed upon you at baptism and it was stirred within you at Confirmation and actively brought forth in the baptism of fire. Indeed, we should ask ourselves  why this Spirit of Excellence is so dormant that it appears not to even exist? We desperately need this Spirit of God and St Paul in Ephesians 1:17-21 stresses this when he prays that God should  “reveal himself to you and give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that you may know him.”  Ephesians 3:14-19 sees St Paul yearn again that God “strengthen in you the inner self through His Spirit according to the riches in His glory” .  This need for the Spirit of God to dwell within us in order for the Spirit of Excellence to shine forth and for God to be glorified is seen in Colossians 1:27 which states “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

So let us all try and fan into flame this Spirit of Excellence, for it is the only way to be truly outstanding and to recreate our world to rise above all forms of mediocrity in the last half of this year and beyond. Let us heed the words of Pope Francis who advised the following:

“Look after your work, doing it with enthusiasm, humility, competence, passion and with a spirit that knows how to thank the Lord.”

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