The players are sprawled throughout the locker-room, silently swiping away at the grime and sweat streaking their limbs. The game has been played, the result obvious in their deflated faces. The coach enters and looks about, struggling to come up with words to soften his disappointment. "Did we give our best tonight?"
I haven't played much sport lately, but as I look back over the year so far I find myself asking the same questionâhave I given my best? Everyday it seems I see more of my failings and shortcoming; I see the goals I've let slip, the selfish habits I've formed. I keep telling myself each day is a new day, and this time I will bring my 'a-game' and leave it all out on the field, but it never happens.
Isaiah chapter 64, verse 6â'All our righteous acts are like filthy rags.'
I can beat myself up over whether I've given 'my best' but the truth of the matter is even my best is not good enough. My motives are stained, my mind polluted, and even when I give my best I fall far short of the glorious perfection of my holy God.
This is why I am so thankful for the grace of God. He has saved me out of His goodness, mercy and love. Not because I bring my best to the table. I am just an earthen vesselâcracked, broken and uselessâbut God hasn't thrown me away.
Even though God has every reason to give up on me, He hasn't. He would be perfectly justified to leave me wallowing in my failings, but instead He has chosen to cradle me like a Father with a beloved son. The love and grace God lavishes upon me blows my mind. I don't deserve it, but God gives it anyway, because He has chosen to.
There was nothing I did to earn this love, and therefore there is nothing I can do to burn this love. When I fall, God still chooses to love me, to pick me up and set me on my feet again. I can say along with the Apostle Paul:
I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans chapter 8, verses 38â39
I'm still disappointed when I fail to give God my best. When I see all He has done, and continues to do for me, I feel ashamed at the half-hearted efforts I give Him in return. But at the same time my very failings show me a greater picture of the amazing, inexplicable love that God has given me. All I can do is prostrate myself before Him and whisper, 'Thankyou'.
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from wake-boarding to curling up with a good book on a rainy day.
Thomas Devenish's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/thomas-devenish.html