“Do your best…” you've probably heard that, said that, been told that, or if you are an overachiever like me, you've done all three.
This phrase is very subjective and requires a different levels of effort based on education, talent and individual skill sets. When I was a child, this phrase meant “Try harder”, or “I know you can do better”. Anytime this phrase was used, I knew I needed to give more effort to accomplish the task. In our modern day culture, this phrase is viewed much differently and sends the message, “Your best is good enough” or “Don’t worry about doing better, your best is good enough.”
So, where do you stand on this issue? Do you believe that we are witnessing the degeneration of this phrase or are we becoming more loving and accepting of individual performances? My work with the Center, my church youth group and my personal beliefs cloud my ability to really share my opinion with you. So, aren’t we glad that God’s word addresses it for us?
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
Here are a few truths God has been revealing to me about doing my best:
- The effort we give is associated with the person asking you to “do your best.”
- In the case of the passage in 2 Timothy, Paul, through the prompting of the Holy Spirit, is teaching his apprentice and son in the faith.
- I imagine Timothy was willing to give his all because of the deep relationship he shared with Paul.
- Timothy also witnessed Paul’s suffering and understood, what the “best” standard meant.
- The cause, because and why
- The cause - This passage gives Timothy a colossal and specific reason to do his best… You Timothy, you are presenting yourself to God!
- The because - As any good parent would do, Paul gives Timothy reasons to do his best, and might we note, it’s not “because I said so”. Paul reminds Timothy to be one approved and a worker who has no need to be ashamed. Do your best because there is nothing worse than standing before God, unapproved and ashamed.
- The why - The eternity of others is at stake! Once we come into relationship with Jesus, we receive His Spirit and are given the responsibility to rightly handle the word of truth. God’s plan for others starts with His plan for us. When we are always on the ready, God will readily send us those who are desperate to meet Him!
So, on this issue, where do I stand when it comes to doing my best? I stand with Paul, who stood with God and was inspired to teach Timothy. I also stand with Timothy ready to be taught, inspired and even willing to be corrected. It takes both of those attitudes to grow as a follower of Jesus.
Our culture, country and world, stands in a precarious place, not because of God but because of sin. God did His job, Jesus did His job, the Holy Spirit is doing His job, but what about you? Are you doing your job? Are you representing the Body of Jesus Christ in a way that woo’s others to Jesus? Are you really doing your best in your efforts and attitudes toward God and the world?
During your personal Pit Time today, think about how you view doing your best and begin to pray about finding a Paul and Timothy to walk out this faith journey with you.