Give Your Best
1 Thessalonians 4:1-2
Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
When Henry Kissinger was Secretary of State of the United States, an aide in the White House approached him with a report. Kissinger asked, "Is this the best you can do?" The aide sheepishly replied that he could do better. A few days later, the aide returned, and resubmitted his work. Kissinger inquired again, "Is this the best you can do?" The aide reluctantly admitted he could do better. This interaction went on several more times until finally the White House aide responded, "Yes, it is the best I can do!" Henry Kissinger took the report and said, "Now, I will read it."
I guess this story would remind each one of us that there is always room for improvement. There are so many areas of our lives in which we could do better. Our best is yet to be given. This is true in general, and particularly true in relation to our relationship with God. Which one of us would argue with the reality that our knowledge of God could be deeper, our prayers to God bolder, our work for God greater, and our desires for God stronger? In 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 Paul urges the Thessalonians to go the second mile spiritually. Paul urges them to acquire a holy distaste for mediocrity. There can be no sitting back in smug satisfaction. Their track record was good but it could be better; they could improve on what they were already doing. He wants them to abound more and more in the things of God (1 Thess. 3:12; 2 Thess. 1:3). The word translated "abound" carries the idea of excelling, of exceeding boundaries. It speaks of being over the top. Paul's point is that Christ ought never to be the Lord of the leftovers. The Lord Jesus Christ deserves and demands our very best every time, and in everything (Eccles. 9:10; 1 Cor. 10:31). As we abide in Him and His word in us we can bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit (John 15:1-10). We can do better than our best in Christ. Our best is yet to be given (Phil. 3:12-16).
This exhortation to do more, and be more comes through Paul by the authority of Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 4:1-2). Christ commands it, Christ enables it, and Christ deserves it. Christ deserves our best because everything about His love for us, and His work for us on Calvary is over the top. There is nothing measured or comparative about what God has done for us in the Lord Jesus. Think about the exceeding riches of His grace toward us (Eph. 2:7). Think about the exceeding greatness of His power toward us (Eph. 1:19). Think about the exceeding weight of glory that awaits us (2 Cor. 4:7). Love divine, all loves excelling! In the gospel we have heavens best given freely and fully for earth's worst. Let us therefore give our best in the light of God's best. C. T. Studd the missionary to China got it right when he said, "If Jesus Christ be God, and died for me then there is no sacrifice too great that I can make for Him." Give your best today!