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Devotion 35

The Best I Can Do

The best I can do is the best I can do. Period.

Onlookers may see things differently; but if I'm doing the best I can do, that's all God requires of me at any given time.

Note, however, that this assumes I am making God a part of the equation. If I don't, then "I struggle alone up hill," to quote one of my mother's poems.

I want to do to the best I can on any given day; then I have to be willing to accept the consequences of my choices. In this age when the acceptable behavior pattern in many situations is buck-passing, that's not an option for me or for any Christian.

I am responsible for my own actions. That's the bottom line in the Christian life: When I fail or deliberately do the wrong thing, I am supposed to bow before the Christ of the cross and the empty tomb and ask for forgiveness — which He gives freely because that's what He promised to do. (I John 1:9, John 3:16)

And if I succeed in making the right choices, I am also supposed to bow before Him, thanking Him for the wisdom to choose correctly and/or for the ability which enabled me to achieve the success in the first place.

What I cannot control I have to release, and I think that is the hardest of all for me. I want to be the teacher, the mender, the helper. However, if that's not my role, I need to bow before the God of the universe and ask for the grace to accept the situation I wouldn't choose. I need to leave things in his hands that aren't mine to solve in the first place. He will give me peace in those matters, too, because He has promised. (Philippians 4:4-5)

I have a teddy bear in my office that I use as a reminder — particularly when it comes to family matters. On the one shoulder, I imagine a sign that says, "Mind your own business!" On the other, I read, "Keep your mouth shut!" Those mental signs help me think things through — hopefully before I open my mouth and insert my foot.

Sometimes we think that all we can do is pray. The truth is that often praying is the very best thing we can do! (Romans 8:26-27, I Thessalonians 5:17)

Remember Aunt Bee and how she told me that she believed that every time she prayed for someone the Holy Spirit touched that person in response to her prayer. When I pray I envision the touch of the Spirit on every single life. I think of the comfort that was to me during the years my brother Jerry and I were estranged. Thankfully we were reunited several years ago; and after more than 30 years of prayer, he has recently found his peace in the Lord. "For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:37)

It's hard to watch students when they face tough circumstances over which they have no control: personal illness, illness and death in the family, other family problems, and/or impossible work loads so they can stay in school. The result? Their grades suffer. Some are whiners, who want me to give them the higher grade because I feel sorry for them. Some are depressed and down on themselves because they can't do it all.

And I tell them what I tell myself: "The best you can do is the best you can do. Then you have to accept the results the problems have created in your life."

And every time in every thing— even though we can't "do it all — we should do the best that we can — with Christ as our constant companion.

God with me!

God with you!

For Further Consideration

"And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest upon us,

confirming the work that we do,

Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!" — Psalm 90:17, The Message

Make Me a Blessing

Out in the highways and byways of life,

Many are weary and sad;

Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,

Making the sorrowing glad.


Make me a blessing, Make me a blessing,

Out of my life may Jesus shine;

Make me a blessing, O Saviour, I pray,

Make me a blessing to someone today.

Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love,

Tell of His power to forgive;

Others will trust Him if only you prove,

True every moment you live.

Give as 'twas given to you in your need,

Love as the Master loved you;

Be to the helpless a helper indeed,

Unto your mission be true.

— Words by Ira B. Wilson (1880-1950)

Music by George S. Schuler (b. 1882)

© 1924, renewed 1952 by George S. Schuler


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