THE MALCOLM BALDRIGE National Quality Award was awarded many years ago to the iconic Ritz-Carlton Hotels. When I congratulated the owner of that outstanding organization, he told me that they would need to work even harder to earn the respect that comes with the prestigious honor. He also mentioned that the award declares that quality is “a race with no finish line.”
He is correct. When working with the public, there is no time of day or month on the calendar when it is okay to let up. Competitive excellence requires 100 percent. If you doubt that, try maintaining excellence by setting your standards at 95 percent. People start to figure they’re doing fine so long as they get somewhere near it. The erosion that follows is now familiar to all who encounter incompetence on a regular basis.
Excellence gets reduced to acceptable. Before long, acceptable doesn’t seem worth the sweat if you can get by with adequate. And once you buy into adequate, mediocrity is only a breath away. It is human nature to “just get by.” Either the standard is maintained at top-quality level, or you can forget it.
To be honest, we can easily slip into a “just get by” mentality in our walk with the Lord. But God desires so much more. Here’s why I make that statement:
Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Can you shave a few more seconds off your running time this next year by removing those things that hinder you? What about that tendency to think negative thoughts? Lay it aside. What about that stubborn sin you keep giving in to repeatedly? Confess it. Accept God’s mercy. And keep running. All the while, keep your eyes on Jesus—He’s not only right by your side cheering you on—He’s already at the finish line waiting with your medal!