Bring your best
If you were looking for a job, and you were asked for a sample of your work, you wouldn’t, if you really cared about getting the job, send the employer mediocre work. No, you would look to send your employer your best work. Only when you do that are you able to show what you are capable of doing if you get the job.
If you were applying for college, you wouldn’t just think about sending the college things that are just “good enough.” No, you would want to send your best. You would want to put your best foot forward so that the college or university would see you as a valuable addition to the community.
Sometimes, though, when it comes to God, we settle for “good enough.” I am a good person. That’s enough. I am not a bad person. That’s enough. I do not need to go out of my way to do anything for God. I can simply give God a little something, and that will be enough.
But if we are really to have the type of relationship with God that is life-giving and fulfilling, one that leads to eternal life, we cannot settle for just being “good enough.” Just being a good person, or not being a bad person is not enough. God wants, and deserves, our best.
This is what the problem was in today’s first reading. Abel brought the best of his flock. Cain gave something. To be sure, Cain thought what he brought was good enough. But my sense is that Cain was trying to hedge his bets. If I give God my best, if I give God my all, then what’s left for me?
And that is the problem. By not giving God the best, he was settling. And how often, really, if we were honest, would we find ourselves doing the same thing? We settle. We do not give our all. So we should not be surprised that if we do not give our best, our all, to God, then what we receive from God will not be very much.
If we are to grow in the spiritual life, it becomes necessary for us to realize that we cannot just sort of commit to God. We can not just sort of love our neighbor. We cannot just sort of make time for God, limiting it to those times when it fits our schedule. Rather, God should get our best, because that is what he deserves.
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