How many of you can remember doing your homework or working on a project or getting some test scores back, and having your parents or teachers urge you to "do your best". It always seemed to be much more important than getting the A's or getting the homework done before everyone else. Above the success of perfection, I can always remember being encouraged to give it my best.
School is starting for many kids and within these first few weeks they are going to decide how much effort they will put into school. Those sort of decisions are made by home life, teacher expectations, personal drive and what those around them choose to do. This fall unchurched kids will be walking through our doors each week to experience church, maybe for the first time. Each week we seek out kids to come and hang out in our building, eat our food, play our games and hear about our Savior. As we get closer to opening our doors to those kids, I have to fight the urge to compromise. I have to fight the urge to go cheap on the food, I have to fight the urge to put off projects that will update our room and make it even more amazing for these students. These students deserve our best. When God came to save us from our sins, He didn't compromise, He sent His best. God gave us His perfect Son to die a death we deserved so that we could join Him in eternity. Talk about setting the bar high!
They are worth it
Sharing the Gospel with kids is an amazing privilege. We get to join them on their path to discovering an unimaginable love from an unfailing God. When we share the best story known to man, let's take time and bring our best. Sometimes I can feel really accomplished by figuring out a way to get the most for doing the least. I used to try and think of the cheapest way to feed a crowd of kids, but now I realize that it isn't always about cheap, it isn't always about the least amount of work. When I really thought about why I made compromises, it was usually because I was getting lazy, selfish or self-serving. Believe it or not, none of those attributes paint an accurate picture of Gods love. My goal had shifted from doing my best, to just getting it done.
I can't believe someone would do that for me
We don't deserve Gods forgiveness, yet it is never-ending. We may feel like some students don't deserve our best, but God does. Following Jesus (thankfully) doesn't hinge on what we deserve. This year I want everything we do in youth group to reflect unimaginable love. I know that we won't reach perfection, but we sure plan to give it our best.
I now see what our parents were talking about with homework and tests. God felt we were worth giving His best, now let's get out there and love people with our best.