Philippians 4:8-9
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

a group of men working in a kitchen preparing doughnuts
Photo by Daniel Lee / Unsplash


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.” - Henry Ward Beecher
“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?” - John Wooden
“I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.” - Abraham Lincoln
“Human tragedies: We all want to be extraordinary and we all just want to fit in. Unfortunately, extraordinary people rarely fit in.” - Sebastyne


Excellence and greatness go hand and hand in my mind. A favorite video game series of mine called Uncharted plays off of the notion of greatness. It uses this phrase in latin: ”Sic Paris Magna”, which translates to:

Greatness from small beginnings – Sir Francis Drake

The value of excellence and greatness up a question I’ve pondered throughout my life, particularly in sports. The question in play is: What does it even mean to be great? Or what is greatness?

Jesus touched on greatness a few times within the Gospels. One of the many things I love about the Bible is that it doesn’t present the people portrayed in its accounts as sterile robots. They actually had personalities and acted like you and me.

The thing about Jesus is He never condemned them for wanting to be great. What he did, though, was always redirect or redefine greatness according to the Kingdom he established. He equates greatness with service, which is a more humble approach. Service isn’t natural for me… Lord knows it’s not. My parents and sis are much more natural to serving others. I’m a little more aloof, and birth order in being the youngest also contributes to that.

That’s a good thing for me because that’s where the Gospel has transformed me and affected my life the most. I’ve always wanted to be great in some capacity or the other. Sports are an arena where you’re always pursuing greatness. It’s a concept woven into the fabric of athletics and competition. (Matthew 20:20-28)

I’ve always had the wanting to be great. This has made me grow in service ‘cause that’s the mark that Christ set for greatness in his Kingdom. With moving into growing in service, I’ve also grown in leadership, which has put me in places of leadership. I’m going to be upfront with y’all. I’m still perplexed and humbled that people want to follow aspects of my example where the theme verse comes into play, which is where I need to decrease while Jesus increases as I conform to his likeness.

A concept that was discussed in our growing up, based on this mentality of service, is that you should want to out-serve one another. An example my dad used to always say to men, and I’m paraphrasing, is: “Men, if you want to be the leader in your home and be great in the sight of God, out serve your wife.” Now, I’m not married, but the essence of that phrase can be applied to multiple facets of life.