Do You Meet the Challenge of Doing Your Best?
IN A competition or race it is quite natural for one to do his best. The artist who seeks to win a prize for his painting at an exhibition will most likely do his best, as will also a musician who is trying to win recognition or a prize at a music festival. The athlete, anxious to win the prize, is also most likely to exert his best powers.—1 Cor. 9:24.
But what about the many others? Unfortunately, more and more workers in office and factory, mothers and housewives in homes, and students in school are less and less concerned with giving their best. The trend is to be content with merely putting in time, giving only as much as is needed to get by.
Failing to do one’s best might be said to be a part of the moral sickness that afflicts the modern generation. Due to the foretold “increasing of lawlessness” and moral breakdown, there is today a marked lack of conscientiousness, a lack of the sense of accountability to God; there is less and less willingness to put forth the effort to do one’s best.—Matt. 24:12.
But life and the possession of physical and mental faculties are a trust from the Creator. Each one has the obligation to do his best in whatever he is given to do. As wise King Solomon counseled: “All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol [the grave], the place to which you are going.” And the apostle Paul counseled: “Whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled.” The obligation to work ‘with one’s very power,’ “whole-souled,” might be said to be threefold: Doing all that one has to do as well as it can be done; doing as much as one can do in view of his skills, energy and time; and doing it from the right motive.—Eccl. 9:10; Col. 3:23.
For you to do your best you must keep your mind on your work, concentrate on the work at hand. Taking an interest in your work and trying to find pleasure in it will also help. Not to be overlooked are such practical considerations as keeping physically fit by getting enough sleep, eating right, both in kind and in quantity, and avoiding all excesses and dissipation.
Since the Bible contains fine admonition for doing one’s best, it is to be expected that one who regularly reads the Bible would be aided in doing his best. Among the men in American public life who made a regular habit of reading the Bible and who were also concerned with doing their best was the president of a previous century, Abraham Lincoln. He once stated: “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how —the best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end.” Incidentally, here is one benefit that comes from doing one’s best: it helps one to weather unfair attacks.
Among other rewards that come from doing one’s best is self-respect. There is an inner satisfaction from knowing that you have not yielded to the temptation to do careless or indifferent work, just because you could have gotten away with it; but that you have disciplined yourself and have done the very best you were able to do. Whether you did your very best in a certain task or assignment others may never know; but you do, and, if you did, yours is the satisfaction of knowing that you are measuring up to what you know you should require of yourself. The Bible shows that the apostle Paul took satisfaction in doing his best, in measuring up to high but difficult standards, such as preaching where no one else had preached before and not accepting financial support from certain Christians.—1 Cor. 9:18; 2 Cor. 10:15-17.
Then, again, there is the satisfaction that comes from viewing the results, if you have done your best. These certainly will be much better if you have done all you could as well as you could do it. Doing so, you may well be rewarded with a sense of pride in your achievement, which is normal and proper. The man skillful in his work stations himself before kings.—Prov. 22:29.
Doing your best is also the course of practical wisdom in that it makes it less likely that you will receive censure from those for whom you are working or obligated to please. More than that, it may well lead to advancement, as in the case of Joseph the son of the patriarch Jacob. The Bible tells us that God was with him both while Joseph was a household slave and while in prison, but he certainly must also have done his best, to be advanced each time above all his fellows.—Gen. 39:1-23.
Another Scriptural example showing the wisdom of our doing our best is found in faithful King Hezekiah. Thus we read concerning him: “In every work . . . it was with all his heart that he acted, and he proved successful.” Yes, he acted with all his heart and Jehovah blessed him.—2 Chron. 31:21.
For a Christian minister the greatest aid to his doing his best may well be his knowing that it pleases Jehovah God and will be rewarded by Him. And that this involves not just his ministry but whatever he may be doing is apparent from the words of the apostle Paul: “Whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.” God’s glory certainly deserves the best. And as Paul wrote the Christian slaves at Colossae: “Be obedient in everything to those who are your masters in a fleshly sense, not with acts of eye-service, as men pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, with fear of Jehovah . . . for you know that it is from Jehovah you will receive the due reward.”—1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:22-24.
Yes, there are many reasons for one’s trying to do his best. It brings with it self-respect, satisfaction with one’s work and the prospect of success and advancement. For the dedicated Christian minister it also means the reward of God’s approval.