In Search of Excellence

I could see from her body language as she entered the room, that it was not going to be an easy parent/teacher interview,
and I suspected I was not her favourite person right at that moment!
All was soon revealed. She had been looking at her daughter?s books, and to her, it was obvious that progress under me
was not as good as in the previous year when taught by a first year teacher.
On looking through the child?s books, Mother could only find ?Good?, or Very good? stamps on the work, whereas the
previous year the daughter had always got ?Excellent? for everything. I had to smile at her way of assessing her child?s
progress, for it seemed fairly obvious that she had not stopped to look at the work itself.
It took some time to convince this mother that her daughter was doing fine, but that I had a different way of marking. It
was a system that had been carefully explained to my class at the beginning of the year, and they understood my ways.
?Good? meant that they had done what was required and done it well. ?Very good?, indicated that they had done more
than was expected, or that the effort for that child was very pleasing and better than usual. To get an ?Excellent? out of
me was a prized possession! It needed an exceptional effort and a level for the individual which I thought was extremely
I thought of that mother this morning in church, when the sermon was on love. Paul had been speaking about the
spiritual gifts, which, he said, we were to desire. They were ?Very Good?, or even ?Excellent?, but then he said, ?And
now I will show you the most excellent way.? There was a standard even higher than ?Excellent?, and he was about to
declare it.
What was the way that was more excellent than possessing any of the gifts of the spirit? It was, as we read in that
thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, the way of love. The old command was to, ‘ Love thy neighbour as thyself.? That
was the barest minimum required of everyone. Now we are told that there is something that is greater than that, the
loving and serving of our fellow Christians. Our greatest witness to God?s love, is to let it flow out to others, especially
to other believers. ?See how they loved one another?, was a comment some observers made of those early Christians.
Can they say the same of us?
Cynthia Rowse Back to Devotionals Page


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