Amidst goodies that men of the earth have ever desired, and will ever desire, excellence ranks top. However, this treasure is most craved by the laziest and most slothful of men. Every undergraduate desires to emerge ‘summa cum laude’, every girl dreams of having the best wedding, every boy craves the masterpiece corner office, every woman wants to be identified as the mother of the wonder kid, and everyone wants the very best, but not everyone seems ready to pay the price that usually precedes the prize.

I wonder how long it would take this world to realize that wearing the tag of excellence is not a spontaneous affair. I wonder why some high school students think that one can have straight A’s without stabbing sleep sometimes, and paying the daylight dues. I’m having trouble understanding why people desire spiritual muscles with little or no care given to deliberate study of the Father’s heart and regular engagement in heartfelt prayers. Of course, I am not oblivious of the truth that the race is neither to the swift nor the battle for the strong, but I believe grace cannot be the prayer of the hedonist. Even Joshua of old and his men still had to grab their swords for combat before God went beyond their efforts and strategies. If grace is the multiplier it truly is, simple mathematics clearly affirms its relevance only when there is something to magnify.

“The heights that great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight, but they, while their opponents slept, were toiling upward in the night.”- Henry Long Fellow

That said, the man who has presented his labours, however feeble, to grace for multiplication, and hence has been lifted, does not need to go about blowing his own horn. He does not need to advertise or announce himself before men. Self-appraisal becomes absolutely unnecessary because the tag of excellence is like smoke that cannot be contained in clothes-however thick! The stamp of excellence speaks volumes even if its carrier is dumb! Oh! that noise-makers of our time would seek this differentiating factor and halt the rat-race for recognition; Oh! that men would desist from running every now and then to the throne of energy when all that is needed for life abounds at the throne of grace. I dare say in the affirmative that when a man earns the mark of excellence, he would not beg or even fight before he is recognized.

As wonderful and glorious as it is to wear the tag of excellence, so is it imperative to note that the accolade top-notch performance brings, if not prayerfully and meticulously tamed, may be the shovel that is needed by the devil to dig a man’s grave! How many men who paid their dues and became so lifted, have slid back into oblivion due to carelessness. Such men have become tales of tragedy in their own lifetimes all because they allowed themselves to be spoiled by spoils of greatness. They made a shipwreck when they gave room to arrogance and complacence. They never thought it pertinent to use their lofty heights, influence and affluence as ladders of ascent for failures and mediocres around them. They put out the fire when God had not finished cooking them and now, they are as cold as ice-bergs. There they are, groaning in the land of the unknown in great anguish and agony of wasted opportunities.

Every man who desires surpassing exploits must also be aware of missiles and grenades such feats attract. All men who ever became truly great had their fair share and I announce that even you will not be spared! But the great news is that those heroes were people who refused to be cut short by the blows they were dealt. I think history knows nothing about men who had all on a platter of gold. Even Jesus did not coax us as he spelt out the fact that tribulations are unavoidable(John 16:33). What’s more, He’s encouraged us to be of good cheer for He has overcome the world and hence, we are more than conquerors. I challenge you not to settle on the pedestal of mediocrity out of fear as hard knocks they say, don’t stay down. More so, these challenges usually serve as the high temperatures that bring us forth as pure gold. Men like Joseph in Bible days refused to give up on their dreams even in the face of massive blows, because they were persistent, and were supported by the stanchion of God’s grace. Today, their names are engraved in hearts where they can’t be erased. We definitely can achieve more if we don’t quit.

“The most common trait I have found in all successful people is that they have conquered the temptation to give up.”- Peter Lowe

Finally, what this world needs is not a myriad of mediocres but an army of men and women, boys and girls who go the less travelled extra mile in whatever they do. What’s your resolve?

Written by Lana Promise