• Richard Parrish

A Humble Approach To Excellence



Reaching for excellence can be noble and problematic.


The ministry that I serve encourages its team members to reach for excellence.


Because we are God’s servants: giving our best, being all we can be, and continually learning and practicing our crafts is honoring to God. After all…


… The more proficient we become, the more significant the influence we have for the glory of Christ, right?


But is that always the case?


The motivation for improvement contains “good” – and “bad” – seed. Without question, the “good” seed produces a harvest of humility.


We recognize that all we have: our uniqueness, talents, creativity, and personalities are gifts from God. We learn to appreciate our differences, viewing them as complementary, not competitive. And, we desire to honor God by cultivating and nourishing these God-given treasures entrusted to us.


That’s why we are to pursue excellence in our crafts, continually. It’s honoring to God and keeps us connected to appropriate humbleness.


However, we must not forget that “bad” seed can also be hidden in the desire to pursue excellence.


I recall the joke about the man who supposedly wrote a book: “Seven Steps To Humility, and How I Achieved Them All!” Somehow, the title reveals how easy it is for the “bad” seed of arrogance to choke the “good” seed of humility.


The pursuit of quality is to honor God, not self. The more excellent our craft, the more influential we become for Christ.


Solomon states: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but wisdom is with the humble.” [1]


The word for pride in Hebrew is zāḏôn. It refers to one who is arrogant and/or “insolent,” or proud. An over-confident person who does not consistently bathe in the waters of humility will become proud. An impertinent person becomes brazen, rude, and disrespectful.


Pride is the opposite of humility, and the fruit of pride always leads to disgrace.


The prophet Micah reminds us that we are to walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). Jesus tells us: “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:4).[2]


Never stop pursuing excellence! But always remember why we do so!




[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Pr 11:2.


[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Mt 18:4.