One nuance of the word excellent in Philippians 4:8 is “an example of a quality.” I know, that is probably not a very helpful description. But it describes one meaning of the word real when used as an adjective. For example, if I say “Now there’s a real man” you know I am expressing the opinion that someone is an example of manliness. Likewise, if I call someone a “real athlete” you know they exemplify the characteristics of an excellent athlete. We use this phrase in many contexts. We’ll call a bargain “a real steal” or a delicious cut of meat “a real steak.”
However, you might be surprised if you heard Adam Favro say, “now there’s a real athlete.” You might picture someone on the pitch or playing field, but not a ballerina on the stage. In a LinkedIn article, Favro notes that dancers practice 30 hours per week, perform six or more times a week and often do this while holding down a second job. He says, “Ballet is a sport of true passion and dancers are the epitome of an athlete.”*
As you look around for excellence, you might find it in surprising places. Spend some time looking for people who exemplify positive traits and roles. Can you find an excellent teacher, an excellent nurse or an excellent waiter or waitress? Remember, focus on excellent things and people.
*Adam Favro, “The Epitome of an Athlete,” LinkedIn, July 10, 2017 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/epitome-athlete-dr-adam-favro
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.