Bringing Your Best

Last weekend I spent the better part of two days painting the new railing of our home. With our top and bottom porches, there is over 100 linear feet of railing. Each of the ten sections have a top and bottom rail with at least 7 spindles. It was quite tedious work that required patience and precision as it was all detail work.
Anyone who knows me knows that I like a bargain, and many times in my life if I can get something comparable for less, I will. However, when approaching this project, I decided that given the amount of time it was going to take, I wanted to make sure it lasted. So, I got the best outdoor paint I could find. It was $20 more a gallon than another “good” brand, but it was advertized as more durable and lasting. I also sprung for high quality brushes. I knew I was going to get out of it what I put into it; so I put in the best. While only time will tell how “durable and lasting” the paint job will be, the rails look good and I am pleased with the outcome.
I believe this illustrates a truth in life. The result of our efforts are often directly related to the quality of our effort. If we put in average effort, we get average results. If we put in quality effort we will usually get quality results. This is certainly true with our physical health. If we make exercise a priority and if that exercise is done with quality effort, we will see positive results in our health – things like lower blood pressure, weight maintenance or loss, increase in strength, etc.
This is also true in our spiritual lives. If we approach the practice of our spiritual life with an average effort, we are going to see average results. They may be adequate when times are average; but when the storms come, we might find our faith not as “durable and lasting.”
This reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish builders. The wise man built his house on the rock – a firm foundation. The foolish man built his house on the sand – a shifting foundation. The foolish man’s house was easier and quicker to build; he didn’t need to dig much of a foundation. Yet, when the storm came, it was the wise man’s house that stood, because that man had put in the quality effort to build a strong foundation.
In this day of fast paced living and competing claims on our time, it is easy to allow the effort in our spiritual lives to be average, and it is possible that average will suffice. Yet, there are times when it will not. We are offered more than average and indeed are called to more than average. God wants our best, because God has given his best. And the results of giving God our best are not only pleasing to God, they rebound back to us. When we give God our best, we are building our house on the rock.
So I encourage each of you to reflect on ways you can give God your quality effort in worship, in scripture reading, in studying, in serving. I can guarantee that you will be pleased with the results, and you will find yourself more “durable and lasting!”
Grace and peace to you.
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee