Sorry I do not have a Bible verse at the moment to start off with; hopefully I’ll find one soon. This post is sort of in response to what was discussed at Bible study group last week; well, actually it’s a trigger for this post. The question/issue raised last week was about how hard we should be trying in order to devote our lives for God, in a tangible way. And by tangible we are sort of referring to say duties at church/youth group, to the extremes of full-time ministry. How much effort should we really devote to these things? Will we, can we, really give up everything else in our lives to pursue God’s purpose.
The reason why we see some sort of dilemma is that we are unable to do both things at the same time: that is, we cannot spend all our effort for university and also spend all our effort on church. The normal solution is to find a balance of the two things and so it may end up being 50/50 for both things, or maybe more tilted one way. But the question at hand is: should we try to give more of ourselves to God and just leave everything else behind? After all, this was what God told the disciples to do in the New Testament.
Well suppose we could drop everything and serve God with 100% of our energy at all times. But to push things to the extreme as an example: what about eating and drinking? Can we not part time to eat and drink? It’s got nothing to do with serving God (generally) but if we don’t then we’re physically die right? We need food and water to survive. And this is an example of our limits as humans. There are things we must do (or rather we can’t do – that is, serving Christ 24/7) because we are humans and we are limited by the way God has made us.
So now we can specify what limits we as humans are imposed with. And again let’s start with some extremes. As humans, we cannot fly, we cannot breathe underwater, we cannot survive without food and water, as stated before. Furthermore we can’t like raise the dead or summon massive fireballs to destroy our enemies with. But to narrow the gap, we can’t really devote 100% of our time to Christ and 100% for university because that’s 200% and there’s only 100% of us to give away.
But before we adopt a pessimistic view and say: “Because I’m human and because I have these limits that God has imposed on me, maybe I should trying to devote a fair amount of myself to God”, we should also turn our attention to the meaning of the word “best”. Often times we say that we want to achieve to our best or that we’re happy with a failed result as long as we did our best. And so another question to ask is: Even though we fail to give 100% of ourselves to God, are we still giving Him our “best”?
Consider the time you study for exams. Did you study toy our best to get the result you wanted? Could you confidently say: “Yep, I studied to my best. That is my best result, I could not have gotten higher.”? If your answer is yes, think about it again. Couldn’t you have studied harder? Or studied more? Couldn’t you have given up that leisure time of watching TV, or playing games or MSN to study? Surely there is a way to have made your final mark better. And surely there is always a way to improve what you’ve done if you’re given the time to think about ways to improve what you’ve done. Surely what we do isn’t perfect and surely there are always ways we can improve on what we’ve done.
And therefore we never really do perform at our “best” because there is always a way to improve. So if we can always improve; is there a limit to how much we can improve to? How shy of “perfection” can we achieve? Can we actually achieve perfection? Rather than look at “perfection” as the goal, consider this example: Isn’t it funny that year after year we see Olympic World Records get broken one after the other. Take swimming for example, is it always possible to beat the World Record? I mean surely it’s humanely impossible for man to swim 50m in say 1 second, or even 10 seconds; so if we keep pushing this number up, what is the limit of the World Record?
So in summary for this section, surely there is a maximum, a limit that we as humans can reach; and yet ironically we can always improve; we can never reach our best even though it’s there. Also I would like to say that there are other factors that prevent us from reaching our “best”. If we’re sick, physically, or when we feel tired, or annoyed and disturbed because of something, these can all influence how well we perform, yes? Then maybe what prevents us from reaching our best, our limit, is the things that are holding us back in this world. Again there are numerous things that negatively affect us, even if only the slightest.
Keeping all of this in mind, how much should we be trying to do for Christ, knowing that we cannot serve Him perfectly? And can we give up alot or most of the other things in our life for this purpose? In light of the things that weigh us down in life, we find that there are some things we would put as higher priority than, well, constant Christian ministry in our lives. In the world we live, we need money, just as our human bodies need food and water; unfortunately this is how the world we live in runs. It should never occur that we can just drop all instances of money in our lives because as hard as it is to admit, we all do need money; and this is just an example. Of course in turn, this requires a job, which stems from an education; and so there we can see the importance of some of these worldly passions; we need them to sustain our mortal lives.
What can we do then? We’re going to fall short of our service to God because of these material things that weigh us down; and we can’t just let go of them no matter what because wouldn’t that be simply letting go of our lives? And this is why we feel that our “best” option is to do a combination of both; to devote part of ourselves to God at any one time and other times to devote to our worldly needs. Somehow it just seems that no matter how hard we try we can never manage to fully satisfy God with our actions for Him; and once again it comes down to the fact that we are limited as humans to serve Christ. God Himself knows that, so do we, which is why we are reminded at times that it is through Christ that we manage to complete His will. This may be all in part for us to learn to rely on Christ that He’ll give us the ability to serve Him to our best despite being weighed down by the things around us.
Will continue later. What will be the outcome for this topic I wonder?