Our staff, houseparents and children at Big Oak Ranch focus a great deal on exemplifying excellence in our individual lives, our families and within this ministry. Excellence according to Webster is “the quality of being outstanding.” In the life of a Christian, our standard for outstanding, is the identity and life of Christ. The One who demonstrated that a life characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control is one of the highest standard. His life was an example of holiness, obedience and reverence before God.
When we yearn for this kind of identity and we put it into action, demanding it of ourselves, it affects those around us. My wife Kelli and I have adopted the practice of waking up at 5:00am so that we can spend time reading scripture together, taking time to pray and just allowing ourselves time to talk. Our oldest son, Sawyer, sometimes wakes up around this time and wants to come sit with us. We know we must protect that time or it won’t happen, so we often ask him to go back to his room and just lay in his bed until time to get up. However, a few mornings ago God directed me to do something different. Sawyer came downstairs and said, “Daddy, can I please just sit with you?” So I told him to come on in and as he climbed on the couch, he asked why we get up so early. I explained to him that it’s a time that his mom and I can read the Bible and pray for our family, for him and his brother, praying that God will protect and provide. That’s when Sawyer just looked up at me and said, “Daddy, one day I’m going to wake up early and pray for you.”
God has a way of gently, but powerfully reminding us that the way we live, talk, and love is infectious to those in our sphere of influence. In a culture where moral decay is spiraling out of control, I’m reminded through our incredible staff, donors and volunteers that there are still people who, at their core, love Christ with everything they have and still hold in high regard the qualities of character, integrity and excellence. In our quest to live a life of excellence, may we never forget the purpose – to be found obedient before God and to fill others with the Spirit that dwells within us.