Salisbury Post- June 23, 2018
Is that the best you can do? The words were not said in a positive tone, and my sixth grade student stared at the test results his mother was referring to, in order to avoid making eye contact. We were in the middle of a parent-teacher conference, and she seemingly was implying that he had not tried hard enough. As his teacher, I had seen him work diligently - but he was just not ‘quite there’ with some of the concepts.
I truly felt it was the best he could do. The words the mother said may have been meant to encourage - but they actually really stung.
The memory of that conference came to mind while I was writing a recent column. I had been working on it for what felt like a really long time. A bit frustrated, I put my head down on the table where I was working, and prayed, “Lord, give me the words.” Almost immediately, these words popped into my heart, “Is that the best you can do?”
I looked around to see who had asked me that. I sat up. I sat back. I folded my arms. I looked around again. I looked at my words on the computer screen in front of me. I thought. And I thought. And I thought some more. I smiled - I think I laughed.
“Yes,” I responded aloud, “that is the best I can do.”
Happily, I submitted myself to that truth - and submitted my column to be published.
I was just going to let the Lord take it from there.
Maybe it was not the best someone else could have done - but I’m me - and it was the best I could do.
God made me. God knows me. God loves me. God knows my abilities… and my limitations. God brought me to this place - in this time - for a purpose. He has given me the assignments that I have.
If God only called the qualified, I would have very few assignments.
Instead, God qualifies the called.
I began to think back over my life, with those words in mind: Is that the best you can do?
Honestly, there have been way too many times the answer would have been a resounding, “No, I definitely did not do my best. I did what I wanted to do, instead.”
I cannot go back and recover those times, but neither can Adam, Eve, David, Jonah, Peter - just to name a few - who may not have always done their best in everything, either.
But…it is probably best that we stop trying to compare ourselves to others, and instead seek only the approval of the One who created us. Then, our lives would be a whole lot less complicated - and our joy would be a whole lot more full.
If we do our best - God will do the rest.
And… it will be best - if we can learn to rest - in that.