As I stood at the peninsula in my kitchen the other day preparing lunch for my little munchkin I thought about the phrases, "Just do the best you can," and, "I'm just trying to be the best person I can be." Growing up I heard those phrases a lot. I haven't heard them as much in the past few years. And what I started to wonder was what Jesus thinks about those phrases.
Are those phrases that he ever spoke to his disciples? Do those phrases reflect the heart of God? And what I think at the moment, and reserve every right to change my mind on, is no. Let me tell you why.
Do you know where Paul's best got him? Persecuting and killing people that believed differently than him
. Paul's best was zealous. Paul's best won him the approval of some and made others quiver with fear.
And how about James, Jesus' half brother? James best got him missing that his own half brother was the Son of God. The Messiah. The Christ. James' best had him thinking that Jesus was out of his mind.
Don't even get me started on my best! My best was a girl who longed to be loved and looked to all the ones who could never fill her because they couldn't even fill themselves let alone someone else. My best was a girl who no matter how hard she tried couldn't change her broken heart, fix her loneliness from never having a father who cared or a mother who was around. My best, even now, is broken and tattered, with false motives and selfish ambition.
This is why I think that God's heart is never that we try our best but that we realize He's our best. I think God's heart is that we live in a continual awareness of how our best is not what it's about but that living a life surrendered to Him is what it's about.
At the end of our lives we will stand before the God of the universe and I don't think the question He will ask us will be, "Did you try your best? Did you be the best you, you could be?"
Remember Peter, Paul and James? Before they really got who Jesus was and what He came to Earth to do, their best was pitiful. But after Christ died on the cross and rose, conquering death, sin and the grave, they got it. And then it was Peter doing life filled with the Holy Spirit, living completely and wholly for Christ. It was Christ's power through Peter. And Peter built the church. Christ's power through Paul brought people to Christ and Paul penned a chunk of the New Testament. Jesus' half brother James- he became a man of prayer and helped lead the early church. He lived surrendered to Christ ministering to Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah.
Remember me? The girl whose best left her empty and longing? I no longer try to do my best. Instead, I live in an awareness that Jesus is it. He's the beginning and the end. The One who knows me and loves me and who fills the empty places of my heart. I no longer need to perform. I can rest. I can sit back and be filled. Anything good in me? It's Jesus. Without Him I'm just a girl with a tattered heart, false motives and selfish ambitions.
So, my dear reader, today I encourage you to lay down your best at the feet of Jesus. Sit and be loved by the God who knows you. And see if maybe, just maybe, His best is even sweeter, even more beautiful than your best.