Links Daily Devotional


Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, ESV)

In the tens of thousands of competitive rounds of golf played on the PGA and LPGA Tours, only seven players (six men and one woman) have shot 59. Eight others have achieved sub-60 on other major tours, and still others have done it on minor tours. But a 59 is one very special, very rare accomplishment for any golfer, and now I know someone who has done it.

This is kind of like knowing a rock-n-roll star, or having once had a lesson from Ben Hogan. Just being in the proximity of acknowledged and proven excellence makes you a little bit excellent yourself. Mostly, though, we rejoice for and with those who achieve excellence.

If everyone who reads this would send in a short list of the excellent performers and excellent people they have rubbed elbows with, it would be impressive. Politicians, professional athletes, industrial magnates, trend-setters, movie stars, inventors and authors would all be on the list. In fact, some who read this are well-known enough that they themselves are on the lists of others.

Based on today’s words of instruction and encouragement to the Philippians (and Paul was a prisoner when he wrote this), I think it is a fine thing to contemplate the excellence of someone shooting a great score or writing a lovely song or performing an act of heroism or doing anything else that is commendable. Most of these acts are worthy of praise, and so are those who do them. We should give that praise, and we should think about honorable excellence wherever it is found.

But all of our earthly accomplishments pale in comparison to the life and deeds and love of Jesus.

All of us either know Jesus or can know him, and the things that he did are honorable and just and pure and lovely and commendable and excellent and worthy of praise—and true. Can I get as excited about the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine (excellent wine, at that) as I can about a pal making a hole-in-one? Can I find as much joy in Jesus’ interaction with the scribes and Pharisees who “brought” him a woman caught in adultery (and the woman herself!) as I can for my friend shooting a 59? Can I spend as much time thinking about Jesus giving his life for me as I can about any great thing I’ve done?

Think about the beauty and excellence you encounter in this life—it will help balance all the ugliness and impurity reported every day by every news outlet, and that will be good for you. But if you want something of extraordinary excellence to think about, just think about Jesus. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Lewis Greer
July 25, 2014
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