Pursue Excellence

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The writer J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, did not initially set out to write fantasy novels and create an entire world that he called “Middle Earth.” He first ventured into his brilliant writing career when he read the phrase “Middle Earth” in an Old English manuscript and it inspired a poem. That was in 1914 and he was only 22. That set him on a 40-year journey of writing excellence.

Three years later in 1917, he wrote “The Fall of Gondolin,” which was the first story of his fantasy works. Then, 13 years later (1930), he began telling his children a bedtime story about a strange and funny creature called a hobbit. Seven years later his book titled The Hobbit was published. The publisher immediately asked Tolkien for a sequel, and 12 years later in 1949, he completed the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The trilogy was published five years later (1954). In other words, from the time he first saw the phrase “Middle Earth,” to the time his masterpiece about Middle Earth was published, it took Tolkien 40 years of creative effort. (Trevor McMaken, “7 Lessons for Creatives from the Life of J.R.R. Tolkien.”

The pursuit of excellence should be a lifetime focus.

Excellence is typically defined as the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. The words excel, surpass, exceed, and outdo, all suggest the idea of going beyond a limit or a standard.

Our perception of excellence is usually that it means to be better than everyone else at something specific. This concept goes hand in hand with competition.

What does it mean to pursue excellence from a biblical perspective?

To pursue excellence means I want to be the best person I can be with the abilities, gifts, and opportunities I have been blessed with by God. 

Pursue excellence in all of life. Pursue excellence in your relationship with God, family, vocational efforts and service to the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding (excelling) in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. 


About Seth Polk

Lead Pastor, Cross Lanes Baptist Church, Cross Lanes, WV
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