I was reminded today…of my ongoing struggle with wanting to be the best. I remember the first time it was a struggle. See in high school, it was easy to convince myself that I was the best in a number of areas. (I’m not saying I was the best, it was just easy to convince myself that I was the best.) I was in the top 3 in my class (28 in my graduating class); All-State football (nine-man); traveled the upper midwest with a singing group; all-state band; etc. You know to be honest, it wasn’t so much that I thot I was the best, it was just that I wanted to be the best.
Then I went to college. In the first quarter of my freshman year, it became painfully obvious that in practically any area mentioned above…I could easily find someone who was better than me. And by the end of that year, I realized that even if I could become the best at Bethel College, changes were good that somewhere in the world there was someone who was better than me in every area.
This led to some God-wrestling, — a few years worth to be honest — God I think you gave me this desire to excell, but what if I can’t be the best at anything? God I want to be the best at something, can’t you give me something? So I decided I would become the best Christian. I would be the perfect Christian. If you know me, you know how well that worked out!
So the wrestling continued. At some point — I can’t tell you when, it happened over time — I sensed God saying, You can’t even be the best Christian. But that’s okay, I don’t need you to be the best, you need me to give you my best. Someone else will make more money. Someone else will be a better football player, a better theologian, a better leader, a better man, but you can have as much of me as you want. You may not be the best, but you can have the best. Will that be enough for you?
I wish I could say that my answer to that question is always, has always been, and always will be… YES! But sometimes when life goes on auto-pilot, I default to wanting to be the best. But I was reminded today that more than anything what I need and want is God’s best, God’s blessing, God’s hand upon me and upon us. It’s like Moses said in the book of Exodus… God without your presence, we are just like everyone else on the face of the earth.
As I come back from sabbatical my prayer for me, for my family, for all of us at Calvary is that we would be known far more as a people that God has blessed with his presence — than we are known as the best of anything.