On Giving Your Best
By Jeremy Hausotter
We have all heard the phrase to give one’s best, whether it is from parents, teachers, a supervisor, or even a friend. It is this idea that we are to give everything we have, to put all of our effort into the project, the endeavor, whether it is work, games, relationships and so on. Life brings many challenges and we are told to give them our best.
There is however an temptation. A good friend of mine was fired from his job. He told me he gave it his best and was pleased with his efforts over his job performance. There was no question that he worked hard for the company, sacrificing weekends and nights to finish the many projects assigned to him on time. The problem however was that his best was not good enough. It was insufficient. His best did not match company expectations.
The temptation is this: to believe that once we gave our best that this is itself sufficient. In reality we should never be satisfied with our best because we can always improve our best. I told my friend that he should not say “oh well, I gave my best”, but instead, “okay, I know now that my best is not good enough and that I need to improve myself.” We must always be open and ready to improve our best because this is the model Christ gave us.
We are fallible human beings who are continuously working on our habits, vices and virtues and our best is at different levels dependent upon where at we are in our spiritual walk with Christ. We can use a mathematical analogy here. A year ago my best may be a 25, but today perhaps it is now a 28. I have improved myself moving my best to a new level further than my previous best.
This is the power of virtue and living a life in Christ. As we faithfully live out our vocations, our ability to give our best improves and the level at which our best resides is higher as we develop. On the flip side, the more I stray from Christ, the harder it is to perform at a high level, for vices impede my ability to give my best to Christ. If someone persists in his or her vices, this can lower their best level.
We must always look at the Cross and remember that our best will never be good enough. Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross is the only best that is sufficient. We must continuously raise our levels to approach the Cross. The Cross is the limit to which our best approaches. Whenever we perform our best or perhaps miss the mark and perform below it, we must always ask and self-reflect on how to further transform our lives to the Cross. The Cross is the best to which we must all aspire to.
Atlas Holding up the Celestial Globe by Guercino