Spirit of excellence

I have finished the book for the month of May and I thought if I can read more than one book in a month, I will continue to read. This is the second book I am reading this month. I was doing relief teaching for a Physical Education teacher and I saw this book called “Excellence” lying on his table. It is part of a series of 4 books on the heart and soul in sports. The teacher kindly lent me the whole series and asked me to return to him in the middle of June. 🙂

The whole series is about the core values which true champions possess. Each book focuses on one value. The 4 core values are Excellence, integrity, serving and teamwork. The books are written by various successful Christian sportsman. I felt excellence is lacking in my life so I started reading from this book “Excellence”. The introduction is very interesting and below is an excerpt:

“An imprint is a permanent mark. To make an imprint means to engrave, impress or inscribe. When I was eight years old, I had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride my older brother’s motorcycle. Wanting to show him how big and tough I was, I took off at full speed! Less than 100 yards down the dirt road, the cycle’s front tire hit a hole, which sent me flying! I landed in a nearby ditch, and the motorcycle landed on my back. Talk about painful!

Fortunately, the curve of the ditch allowed most of my body to be spared from the impact… my brother came quickly to my rescue, which spared me from being seriously wounded. I was, however, banned from riding his bike again. And even though the wreck happened 33 years ago, I still have a nice burn mark on my back – the imprint of that hot muffler.

Think about this: Every time we compete, coach or lead, we leave an imprint. Whether it is a positive or a negative impression is up to us. When we are committed to excellence, we naturally desire to leave the kind of mark on others that will have an eternal impact. As a part of this commitment, we all, as followers of Christ, need to be intentional in striving, straining and stretching to give our very best in all areas.

When I was younger, I was shown what it meant to leave in imprint of excellence. My grandfather showed me what it meant to pursue excellence by staying spiritually hungry. One month before he died, I went to visit him in his home. As we talked in his living room, I noticed 3 items he kept on his end table: a large-print Bible, a magnifying glass and a tape recorder.

I knew that his eyesight had been failing for years, which accounted for the first 2 things, but the tape recorder puzzled me. Out of curiousity, I asked him about it. His answer astonished me. ‘This is where I meet God every morning,’ he said, ‘and unfortunately by the end of the day, I sometimes forget what he taught me from His Word. I decided that if I read the Bible and listened to it on tape, I’d double my chance of remembering it.’ My grandfather was spiritually hungry and was willing to do whatever it took to feed that desire. He was pursuing excellence to the very end.

When it comes to the pursuit of excellence, the ultimate question is not whether we leave a good or bad imprint but whether we leave an imprint of ourselves or of Jesus. What a challenge! My grandfather certainly left an imprint of Christ on me, and I must continually ask myself if I am doing the same for others.”

The introduction is an inspiration for me to be excellent and leave an imprint of Christ for others. I still need to grow very much in this area and I hope I can learn much more as I continue to read this book and practise the principles into my life. Whether we are playing or coaching or leading, we all must be committed to excellence and to leaving behind the imprint of Christ. What about you? Do you pursue excellence? Are you marking others with excellence? Leave a mark – or, better yet, leave an imprint of Jesus. That is a true reflection of a commitment to excellence.


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