Remember that expression Sunday Best? It usually referred to church clothes: a dressy wardrobe that was reserved for the first day of the week. It wasn’t just about threads, though. Sunday Best signified that Sunday was different and it was also the day that we gave of our financial firstfruits (tithing), avoided some forms of work (sabbath), and reserved time for small groups, fellowship meals, and other things that might get crowded out during the week. Many of us dress more casually now and our Sunday Best might look like our grandparents’ laundry day. Fine. No harm done.
But do we actually give our best?
Jerry Seinfeld jokes about how people will see you on the way to a wedding or funeral for a mutual friend and ask you to “send them my best.” He wonders, “Is that really your best?” Wouldn’t your best be actually attending the wedding or funeral, rather than relying on a friend to send good energy on your behalf?
Can you imagine how much would improve in our marriages, families, workplaces, world, and churches if we gave our best? Of course. But what does that look like?
Can you imagine how much would improve in our marriages, families, workplaces, world, and churches if we gave our best?
It doesn’t look like perfectionistic legalism where we go around measuring our best against the best of others and totally ignoring the grace, mystery, and humor that is baked into the human experience. Jesus wants us to be salt and light, not scales and yardsticks.
We also don’t want to have some meritorious righteousness that suggests that our best efforts net the best rewards. Sorry, it’s not that easy. The best parents don’t always produce the best kids and the best teachers don’t always get credit for the valedictorians. That’s not how life works. Sometimes our best fails to deliver great results.
So what does it mean to give our best?
We put our best effort into the things that we say matter the most to us. Our best is when we show up and pony up for the things we say we care about.
- Want to bring your best into marriage? Be there and make sure your spouse knows that they are the most important person in the world to you. Every single day.
- Want to bring your best to your family? Be unselfish. Care about things other people value. Sleep when they sleep and be totally present when you are with them.
- Want to bring your best at work? Show up on time, get working, and let your coworkers know what they mean to you.
- Want to bring your best to the natural world? Conserve. Create less garbage, live modestly, be the person you wish everyone else would become.
- Want to bring your best to church? Leave margins of time to be available to others. Be a producer, not a consumer. Be reliable and cheer for the victories of others.
Leave margins of time to be available to others. Be a producer, not a consumer. Be reliable and cheer for the victories of others.
In all of these situations we must be patient. Those who frustrate us might be giving their best.
From Bob Turner’s “Stationery” site. Used with permission.