Read It! - August 2021
Our days are characterized by a general lack of discipline and lethargy. Even many Christians have been afflicted by mediocrity and aimlessness. Dr. George Sweeting’s recent book, The Pursuit of Excellence is an encouragement for anyone who is weary of these troubling trends.
Sweeting is the former president of Moody Bible Institute, a true veteran of the Christian faith. I had the honor of sitting under his teaching in my doctoral program in the late 90’s in Seattle. His commitment to the faithfulness to Scripture and allegiance to the lordship of Christ has never wavered. The Pursuit of Excellence is yet another example of Dr. Sweeting’s influence in the evangelical world.
His recent work begins with a bold challenge that calls Christians to a life of excellence. Such a challenge is grounded in the very character of God who is the source of all excellence: “O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens” (Psalm 8:1). Sweeting adds, “Excellence is never cheap. It is costly ... Excellence requires desire plus discipline plus determination.” The reminder of the book is a powerful minder of this fundamental reality.
The author unpacks nine qualities that help define a life of excellence. The qualities include faith, character, action, single-mindedness, love, suffering, prayer, wisdom, and staying power. These combined qualities are the building blocks that followers of Christ must pursue in order to lead a life of excellence. All the aforementioned qualities, of course, are grounded in the grace of God and his sovereign purposes for his people.
The book concludes with an examination of Christians who emulate the qualities set forth in the book. Leaders like William Carey, C.H. Spurgeon, and Joni Eareckson Tada are presented as exemplars of excellence.
Dr. Sweeting has been writing since the early 70’s and continues to encourage and bless the church with his gifts. This book is no exception. It is sure to encourage and equip many followers of Christ and help them pursue a life of excellence!