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There is a virtue that shows the character of a person who cares. It is called excellence. Excellence shows grace. It is the hand print of God. Poor quality is evidence of fallen nature; of sin. Anytime I see a gorgeous sunset, I am amazed at the beauty our Creator displays in creation. I see beauty in the way God crafted the symmetry of order and freedom; the graceful form of a horse, the leafy splendor of a tree, the genius of mathematics and chemistry and astronomy and atoms; and how plants and animals depend on each other for air, their oxygen and carbon dioxide.

As a male human being, I am amazed at the loveliness built into females by God, how every feminine feature is without flaw, made appealing and attractive to men in a purely noble, honorable way. This is the way it should be. She is twice removed from the curse of the fall by being fashioned from Adam’s rib, not clawed from the dust of the ground like Adam. Our Creator had excellence in mind when he designed lovely, sweet women to be the counterpart to us masculine men. Excellent work, Lord!

Pursuing excellence is a character trait. Demanding excellence is a mark of good leadership. Excellence requires more than working in a lazy, slip-shod fashion, barely good enough to get by, marking time on the clock until your day is done. I remember when my father said, after I had slammed a door, “Go back and shut that door the way it was meant to be closed.” “Yes, sir,” as I went back and did it right. My wife had a saying she often used on our kids. “One done good beats two done ragged.”

I didn’t like it when, in South Africa, after apartheid ended, when some of the street lights in Johannesburg stopped working, that no one came to fix them. I don’t like it in America when public restrooms don’t get cleaned thoroughly. I don’t like it when restaurants don’t prepare food with pride and don’t serve it promptly with courtesy. Anybody can learn a basic skill to do a job but caring enough to do things right, and offering good customer service is a character trait that can’t easily be taught.

I recently went to a car wash on MLK in Fayetteville which I had previously liked because they provided free vacuum service with the wash. Their vacuums had powerful suction and really cleaned the car's carpet. But this time, I was disappointed. I went to four different vacuum stations before I finally found one that worked properly. Afterwards, I went to the man on duty and complained. He said, “Hey, the vacuums here are free. Why are you upset?” I fired back, “Because somebody here is not doing their job!” That’s absentee ownership, a recipe for slowly going out of business.

We stayed at a hotel in Mississippi on a trip to visit my wife’s mother, now age 92. We had an awesome time with her. Our stay at the hotel was not so good. The sign to the entry was out, making us miss the driveway. The sign on the building was out. They put us in a room with a terrible odor. The shower head was from a hardware store like you’d see in a cheap trailer, not a quality motel. That evening, no could explain to me how to connect to their internet. "Just tap your phone screen." Say, whaaat?

I joined the line of folks complaining to the desk clerk the next morning. Later, I heard the morning shift lady explaining away all the "so-called" problems to her manager. It was the fault of the customers, not them. The sad thing was, the staff the night before were polite, just ineffective. They wanted to do right but were not equipped to do their job well. This was a management issue, not an employee issue.

I thought about it. To me, it was like the notion of excellence, of exceeding expectations, of doing things well for the glory of God and for the benefit of others, of adding value to a customer's expenditure of money, had not entered their heads.

You know, excellence gets gossiped. It creates a lasting reputation worth a ton of advertising dollars. A lot of business owners have to spend a fortune trying to undo the shoddy attitude and poor work of a few bad apples. So, what are you known for?

Ron Wood is a writer, pastor, and teacher. He and his wife live in NW Arkansas near their two children and six grandchildren. Email:

---END--- for the NWADG/WCEL Jan. 31, 2018

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