There was a day not all that long ago when verses like Colossians 3:23 made me cringe.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for people…”
Or 2 Timothy 2:15. Or Colossians 3:23, 24. And Ecclesiastes 9:10.
And… the message was clear. Whatever you do, be sure it’s your absolute best!
I’d read verses extolling the virtues of giving my all, doing everything as unto the Lord, and immediately feel shame and defeat.
Because for a long time, my best could only be viewed through the lens of one weary with a medical disorder.
And when you spend every day with something like chronic depression, and simply feeling lousy at any given moment, one’s best doesn’t feel like the best of anything.
It feels like the worst is all you have to offer.
And what is God supposed to do with our worst?
Maybe you’ve been there.
Maybe it isn’t dysthymic disorder. Maybe it’s another illness that drains you. Maybe it’s the employment you can’t seem to find. Maybe it’s the relationships you can’t seem to keep. Maybe it’s a heartache that swamps every bit of life in you.
Whatever it is that simply makes you feel less of you, it keeps reminding you that your best hasn’t been up to snuff. And eventually we can start giving up hope that we’ll ever measure up the way everyone else surely does.
And so for years, I missed the whole point.
Without being truly conscious of it I did two things that kept me from His peace and grace.
1. Unwittingly, I Made God into a Sort of Task Master. This must have caused Him just a little anguish, for He’s nothing, nothing of the kind. But we place Him there when we misinterpret the giving of ourselves to Him, and everything we think we’re incapable of doing.
I saw those verses and resented that I had, in my mind, nothing to offer. That my moods were a shambles, my life one big pretending act of fine, and how do you give your best to anything when you already feel spent.
2. I Assumed There Was a Standard “Best” I Could Never Reach. “Lord, I’d do everything as unto You, but today my best was simply that I got dressed, then sat and stared at the walls. What a laugh right? I’m so sorry. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get a chance to give you the best. Maybe tomorrow I’ll invent something clever. Maybe tomorrow I’ll be super mom. Maybe tomorrow I’ll show you what awesome work looks like.”
No wonder there were days my chronic D would win! First, I had believed my best was supposed to measure up to someone elses. But second, I had believed there wasn’t any goodness to my present. That only the worst was still portioned out to me.
Time to hear something fabulous.
Our best, in these verses, is founded only on His loving grace and our obedience.
His loving grace. Our obedience.
Want to enter a famous story?
Come with me for a second, put some ancient Bible era robes on, and bring your poorest, most fought-for efforts that you think aren’t offering worthy.
Bring your small victory of getting out of bed that’s so normal for anyone else.
Bring your effort to make amends for the hundredth time and still isn’t pretty to think about.
Bring your tiny choice to put your difficult teenager first, even though it feels like too little too late.
Bring all the botched attempts to really study the Word, that you only barely got truth from and then struggled hard, so hard, to implement.
Bring all those things the enemy is lying to you about and declared you worthless over. And place them before Him.
Because God sees those things with a glorious lens of priceless worth…
“Now Jesus sat across from the local treasury, watching people put in their money. And those who were rich put in much.
But then one poor woman came forward, and put in her two small pennies. And Jesus called His disciples to Him eagerly, and said to them, “Did you see that? That poor woman has given better than all those who gave here, they easily gave from their abundance, but she gave out of her poverty, all that she had in her life!” Mark 12:41-44
He knows that the best you have to give him might be all you can muster up in life. And it thrills Him that you would bring it to him!
Your best, specific to you, gets His attention. Period.
He watches us give all these poor, small, much-fought-for efforts and tiny victories, and in His lens of loving grace and generosity they become hefty, worthwhile, offerings of obedience.
Wait, it still makes me jump around on the couch for a minute.
How good is our God?! So good that He sees the valleys that plunge and the heights too high on any given day and He says, “It’s okay. I just want whatever your best looks like in this moment. And my grace and love will transform it. Into the best thing I could ever ask for. Your generosity, even while in need, is a treasured sign that you chose Me.”
The minute I learned this, the lies faded and the joy swept in.
I was not the worst believer ever.
I was watched over. I could offer my best for real. And I was rich in Him. And in Him there’s no condemnation. No shame.
And it’s true for us all.
It’s okay, I’ll wait while you go jump around on your couch like a little kid for a minute. Cause it’s that good.
He’s that good.
Whatever it looks like today, bring your best offering, it’s about to become so much more in the Presence of the One who Treasures.
It’s the best offer we’ll ever have.
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