Give Your Best!

May 9, 2013

What is your best?  In many aspects of life we are asked to and want to give our best.  Whether this is in our marriage or friendships, in our work or schooling, extracurricular activities or serving.  No matter what our life entails, we all want to give our best.  The question that I started off with helps us consider what we define to be our best.

I was drawn to this mind exercise while listening to a couple of messages last week from a Church outside Chicago, Willow Creek.  I encourage you to set some time aside to listen to Parts 3 & 7 in particular from the Simplify Series.  The entire series is great and actually strikes a chord with the season of life I find myself in.  But this, giving our best, is something I often think about.  Primarily because it flows from my relationship with God.  Over the past few years in particular, God has made it uber clear that because everything comes from Him, we should give our best back to Him.  As a follower of Christ, I know and understand that I cannot do everything on my own and that I entrust my life to God.  Living in this perspective has helped me reconsider how I give of my time, talents and treasure.  In many ways we can think of our lives as an offering to God.

So I ask again, what is your best?  My best I believe shall always be given to God.  I shall give Him my best when I go to work, when I serve, when I tithe.  In doing so, I am reflecting the trust in Him and the relationship I have with Him.  I don’t simply give my best for myself, to inflate my status or reputation, nor to feel good.  I give my best because the best has been given to me.  The best has been given to you too if you believe and accept this!  In Proverbs 3:6-10, the wisdom of scripture provides an illustration of our best, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops”.  Our best is the firstfruits.  Do we give God our firstfruits?  Do we give Him our best?  You can also read Deuteronomy 26 for further insight from the Word of God.

To be able to come to a place where we are able to give our best, our firstfruits, we must humble ourselves knowing that we have all that we need and that we can rely on God to provide.  Because of this, we honor Him with our best.  That means we give the first of every paycheck, our energy and our service because we believe it comes from Him.  He has given us our gifts to do the work we do and through it He has provided a means to receive resources that He entrusts to us to manage.  In managing of these resources, our offering of thanks comes through giving back to Him.  Do we do this before we pay our bills?  I know I have struggled with this in past and I know many struggle with this.  As my relationship with God has deepened, so has my trust and faith, from which flows my best; the firstfruits!  I am continually challenged with using my energy for good things and not great things.  Sometimes wasting my time with empty activities versus activities that help me grow and find life.  Why is it so hard to give our best?  I believe it starts with understanding why and to whom we shall give our best!  I believe if we know we are giving our best to God, then we have no reason to deny that our firstfruits are what He deserves.  If we believe in God, then we know He is our Creator and for this we shouldn’t be giving him our leftovers, He deserves our best!  Will you give your best to God today?  Tomorrow?  Every day?

Firstfruits


Rejoice in Everything…even Snow in May!

May 2, 2013

I noticed a lot of comments about snow on Facebook today about the white stuff we got in Iowa and all that comes to mind is the following:

Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!”   Philippians 4:4, NIV

As I look at the commentary in my Bible on this passage it touches on our response to circumstances.  The context of this scripture is that it comes to us from a man in prison, Paul, who is telling the church to rejoice.  And here is where the commentary begins:

“But Paul’s attitude teaches us an important lesson: Our inner attitudes do not have to reflect our outward circumstances.  Paul was full of joy because he knew that no matter what happened to him, Jesus Christ was with him.  Several times in this letter Paul urged the Philippians to be joyful, probably because they needed to hear this.  It’s easy to get discouraged about unpleasant circumstances or tot take unimportant events too seriously.  If you haven’t been joyful lately,
you may not be looking at life from the right perspective.”

Snow in May

I actually think it looks pretty nice out there!  It is all a matter of perspective!  Finding my identity in Jesus Christ has given me the freedom and ability to praise God for this day, no matter the challenges it brings.  So when we get a dusting in May and I’d rather be outside playing soccer with fellow coaches as I do on Thursday morning, I instead enjoy this opportunity to rest.

I have relinquished control of my life and know that He is in everything, even the snow that comes our way in May.  No need to let impact the way I think and/or reflect Christ in my life.  Those of you that know me, know that it is true that I am almost always positive.  When it comes to snow in May, I adjust my day a little here and there, I prepare to have a film session with my JV Soccer Team in place of practicing outdoors, and consider the snow a blessing!  Today is great and tomorrow will be better.  How about you, do feel the same way?  How will you look at today differently?  Will you rejoice in the Lord because He brings snow in May!  Really though, it is just snow.  I rejoice in the Lord because of the life that He has given me to live, the great people to enjoy the journey with and the eyes to see the beauty of His creation…in snow!  Go now and rejoice in the Lord!