What do you do when your best is not good enough? Anybody who got the chance to see the final round of the British Open golf tournament this week witnessed it firsthand. Phil Mickelson started the final round in second place, one shot off the lead, shot a final round 65 and still lost by three shots to Henrik Stenson. Mickelson would admit it was very disappointing and I’m sure discouraging when you do your best and it is not good enough.
Such is the experience of too many people when it comes to their relationship with God. To do our best and feel like it’s not good enough. We’re really trying hard to please God, but then we say that one thing, think that one thought, neglect that one act of kindness or generosity, and suddenly we feel like we’ve disappointed God again. No opening line of any book has ever hit me harder than John Ortberg’s, “The Life You’ve Always Wanted” when he begins, “I am disappointed with myself.” Which really is the case, our disappointment with our best not being good enough really is “our disappointment”, not God’s. The writer of Hebrews says about Jesus that we don’t have a “High Priest” who is unable to sympathize with us in our weaknesses, but one who has been tested as we are. In other words, Jesus knows our frailty. The Psalmist says of God, “He knows that we are dust”. Paul said, “We are saved by grace through faith, not by our works” even though we are created for “good works”. I sometimes have to remind myself that when it comes to God my best is always good enough. The only real question I need to ask is if I’ve given Him my best. The best of my time, devotion, gifts, what the Bible describes as the “first fruits”. With God our best will always be good enough because He loves us as Father loves his children.