Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Standard of Excellence Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Standard of Excellence Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

In our pocket of the UK, I've noticed, there are many high- flying parents. They are raising the same kind of high-flier offspring, drive fast cars, and live fast lives. Some of their children even dabble in stocks on their school playgrounds, arranging their portfolios on mobile telephones!

It all seems to be cutthroat competition and zippy living. In this, the schools are at ever more pain to produce the best results, raise the standards, cream off the brightest, all in order to feed the hunger for excellence.

Now, deep down there is nothing wrong with pushing toward excellence, or for schools and parents to set high goals. Yet this can become harmful when it brings elements of destructive competition, in which the goal is focused on achieving excellence merely for material gain. Long ago, someone told about a different kind of excellence. We come upon a most interesting, dynamic way of achieving success when considering his words: "He that is greatest among you shall be your servant" (Matt. 23:11). This was the pronouncement of Christ Jesus. It is natural for us and for our children to want to learn, to have the desire for increasing knowledge. To each of us, truly, God gives a special gift, and we all can enjoy and learn from each other's individuality. Perhaps the most essential quality requisite for finding this gift is humility, in which we respect the fact that everyone we meet has some special, individual ability that can teach a new lesson, bringing some insight we can profit from. The word humble is derived from the Latin word meaning "ground." A fertile ground is one that is ready to receive the seeds for propagation. This is the soil that will yield the best crop. The humble thoughts we cherish represent the good mental soil that promotes opportunity and progress. They mark a sure path to excellence. They open the way for each individual to develop his or her abilities to the fullest, without any need to compete. To embrace humility daily in our thoughts and actions is a great way to glorify God. Then we can declare in the words of Paul the Apostle, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me," for we will be living the truth Jesus taught (Phil. …

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