Sunday, April 6, 2014

In Search of Excellence

There are many rooms in my Father's house. If this were not true, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.

--  John 14:2

It's one of history's best-selling and most-influential books on business, as well as the most widely-held library book in the United States from 1989 to 2006. But some critics say its content is flawed and that the hype fails to live up to expectations.

First published in 1982, In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best Run Companies explores the common management methodologies of 43 profitable and innovative corporations. And data analysis reveals that the authors' choices have largely held up over the years. CrownHowever, Forbes magazine points out that some of the profiled companies--like Wang Laboratories and Atari--have actually shrunk or gone bankrupt. The balance sheets of Xerox and NCR were also less than stellar in the 1980's--the era that the book covers. And an article in Fast Company magazine suggests that In Search of Excellence used faked data to make its case.

Maybe some of these companies weren't so excellent after all. But that's the way it is with anything created by humanity. In one way or another, we're all destined to disappoint.

Let's contrast this somber fact with heaven, one of God's creations that will far exceed mankind's preconceived notions and expectations. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians that 14 years earlier, he had a remarkable glimpse of what all Christ-followers will one day experience for eternity. "Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body," he reported. "But I do know that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell."

The Bible doesn't provide a complete description of the afterlife, but what it does tell us is amazing. For example, we'll be reunited with fellow believers and celebrate with them in joy. And Revelation tells us that God's city is 1,400 miles long and just as wide and high, with walls 200 feet thick. Notably, there won't be any churches there because we'll have a personal relationship with Jesus and God. And no one will need the sun or the moon--or any kind of light for that matter--because God's glory will be the light, and Jesus will be its lamp. Revelation 21:3 tells us, "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.'"

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can look forward to an eternity of happiness with our Creator. What's more, we'll enjoy a total absence of everything negative in the human experience. "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or sadness. There will be no more crying or pain," we read in the final book of the Bible. "Things are no longer the way they used to be."

Describing heaven on this side of eternity is largely futile because its mere existence overpowers anything that we can ever hope to imagine or comprehend. So until we get there, rest assured that it will exceed our expectations many times over. It's in heaven that we'll finally discover true excellence.

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