A Bible Study on Doing Your Best 5.6.20
“Jesus at His Best!”
“Then he called the Bridegroom aside and said, ‘Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.’” John 2:10
It was Monday after promotion Sunday in our home church. I had just promoted from the Junior Department to the Intermediate Department. I was not considered a young teenager and therefore had greater responsibility for Sunday School. That Monday, Mom, came into the living room where my brother, Dale, and I were watching television. She said, “Have you boys read your daily Bible reading. David that includes you too, now.” We both jumped up and ran to the bedroom that we shared.
Now, I was, to say the least, a pretty competitive young boy. I hated losing especially to my older brother. I grabbed my Sunday School quarterly and found out where I was to read. As I found the scripture in Genesis, I looked over to see how far along my brother was in his reading. As I began reading the passage I glanced again to see how far Dale was in his reading. As I read I looked at Dale. Finally, I saw him close his Bible and as he got up to go back to the living room, I closed my Bible and raced out ahead of him.
As we settled back into the living room, Mom entered from the kitchen where she was finishing up supper. “Have y’all finished already?” Together we answered “Yes, Ma’am.” She was a very astute Mom. She then asked, “Well, David, what did you read about?” I stammered a minute and said, “A passage in Genesis.” I did remember that. She finally said, “Well, what was it about?”
I answered, “I can’t remember right off, but I did read it.”
Mom said, “Is it because you rushed through it and didn’t take your time.”
Keeping with the theme of Genesis 3 I said, “Well Dale, doesn’t know either.”
Mom looked at Dale and asked, “Dale do you know what you read?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” he smugly said, “It was about Noah and the building of the ark.”
I sheepishly got up from the couch and slouched and headed back to my room to read the passage carefully without worrying about beating my brother back to the living room.
That encounter years ago taught me a great lesson. Whenever you do something make sure you do your best. That night long ago I wasn’t worried about my best I was worried about finishing. Just getting it over with and getting along with what I wanted to do. Jesus teaches us a different way. He teaches us that whatever we do we should do it with all our might. Paul says in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” If we are the president of a company or a worker on an assembly line, we should give our very best at the job God has blessed us with. We should never skimp or sluff off just because we are unhappy or disgruntled. We should always give our best.
The place we learn this is in the life of Jesus. In a sermon to Cornelius and his family, Peter says, “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.” Acts 10:38. Jesus went about doing good. Nicodemus called Jesus good. The multitudes flocked to Jesus because He was always good. And let’s not forget that Jesus doing good is better than our great.
I realize that in our world we have come up with so many ways to express excellence. Yet in God’s world the best word was “good.” God said it was “good” when He created the world and all that was in it. After created mankind He says “It is very good.” So God’s good is better than our greatest attempt at anything. So it is up to us to always do our best so that others can see our good. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify you Father in heaven.”
So where do we get our earthly example of Jesus doing His best the first time and what can we learn from His example. I want us to look at the story of Jesus turning water into wine. If you haven’t already done so look up John 2:1-10 and read those 10 verses. I’m sure you are familiar with them, but read them again anyway.
Here is what I’ve learned:
1. Before Jesus could do His best He had to See the Need for doing His Best.
Jesus has attended a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. He is there with His mother and His disciples. They had all been invited so we can only guess that this is someone they knew from Nazareth or a family relative. We don’t actually get involved in the story until the wedding is coming to a close. Remember a Jewish wedding lasted for days and a huge feast was prepared for everyone to enjoy. Jesus and His disciples had been enjoying themselves and everyone had been eating and drinking.
Now we get invited into the story, Mary, Jesus’ mother, finds out that the wedding party has run out of wine. The fact that Mary finds out makes me think this was a family member and maybe Mary had actually helped in the preparation of the wedding. Mary goes and finds Jesus and simply says, “They have no more wine.”
Jesus probably lounging and laughing with His disciples seems to get visibly upset with His mother’s statement. It almost seems if He chides her in a way right in front of His disciples. Yet many scholars believe He has responded to her with affection and says something like, “How does this involve me?” The fact that He responds with “My hour is not yet come,” is interesting in the fact that John usual refers to Jesus’ hour as the time He gets ready to die on the cross. Yet most believe that Jesus is referring to His publicly coming out as the Messiah. Yet it is as Mary believes that Jesus will fix the problem when she tells the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”
Jesus sees the problem. He realizes that the wedding feast will be ruined without any more wine. He has been notified of the situation and to do nothing about it would not be wise. His mother has helped Him to see the need and now Jesus can relate to the embarrassment of the groom and his family. Without another word Jesus acts.
How often do we get notified of a situation and we ignore the need. It almost sounds as if Jesus is going to ignore the need, but He rises to the occasion to fix the problem. Many times we are good at pointing out problems and expecting someone else to fix it, but Jesus teaches us that when we see the need we must respond. As disciples of Jesus, He expects us to step up to the plate and react. I believe God is saddened when His followers do nothing and make excuses about why they can’t when they know there is always something they could do.
Are you making excuses or are you looking at the needs of your family, neighbors, fellow church members and upon seeing the need getting ready to do something about it? If you are remember to do your best.
2. When Jesus got ready to do His best, He had to Focus on the Need to be able to meet the need.
Too often in life we see needs, but we allow them to float away from our mind. We see the need and at the moment we believe something should be done about it, but then we get busy and the need goes away.
We also believe that we can throw money at the need. We believe if we give a little to a charity or a special fund that we have done our part. Yet sometimes what God is wanting is our personal involvement to help take care of the need.
Jesus realizes that the wedding feast needs more wine. He looks around at what is available. He could have just spoken to the air and provided wine, but Jesus focused on the need and uses what was available to fix the problem. He saw 6 stone water jars. The Jews had used the water in these jars for purification as they entered into the wedding feast. They would wash their hands and feet and prepare to enjoy the feast.
Jesus calls for the servants, who are waiting to be commanded, to fill these jars to the very brim with water. Some scholars believe these jars were empty because they had been used up. Some believe they were full of the dirty water where people had washed their hands and feet. Either way the servants filled the jars up to the top with water.
Can you imagine what these servants are thinking? They had to believe that this was going to do nothing. They had to believe that Jesus had lost His mind. Yet consider what they thought when He told them to draw some water from the jar and take it to the “master of the banquet.” Yet when they drew out the water they saw that the color had changed. They delivered the new liquid and the results is history.
When you and I see a need that needs to be met we need to focus on doing our best to meet that need. We need to look around and decide what the best plan of action is to meet the need. To simply know there is a need does no one any good. James echoes this same idea when he writes, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘God in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it.” James 2:15-16.
We must focus on meeting the need. Do not ignore a need that God has allowed you to see. Do your best to meet the need. Sometimes the need is greater than our ability. That is when we learn to call on others to help us and we come together as a church to meet the need. Our “Helping Hands Fund,” at the church where we use 1% of all undesignated gifts to be set aside to meet needs is a way we focus and do our best to actually take care of need in our church and in our community. Do as Jesus did and focus on the need.
3. Jesus saw the need, focused on the need, now He does His Best when He meets the need.
Just think what could have happened. Jesus knew the tradition of serving the best wine at the beginning. He realized what normally happened at a wedding feast. Yet Jesus didn’t just deliver any wine, He delivered the “Best” wine. I love the words of the “master of the banquet.” “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guest have had too much to drink; but you saved the “best” for last.” (Emphasis added) John 2:10.
Jesus never delivers second best. I believe that was the best wine anyone had ever drank and probably never drank again. Also, remember that Jesus always does enough. There were six jars of this “best” wine and each jar held 20-30 gallons. There was no more running out of wine.
When we help someone in need or serve on a church committee or team are we all about delivering our very best or do we just want to get by. Please never serve in a capacity just to fill a slot. When you find your talent serve God with the very best that you have. And be careful not to hold back because you believe you can’t do something. Remember that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. God will give you the necessary abilities to help and meet needs if you have the willingness to give you all.
In my many years as a pastor I have watched as people go out of their way to be know and active in their community and their schools, but fail to give their all to their church. Yet do we not feel compelled to give to the one who has given us His very “Best.”
And let’s be careful not to think we cannot give our best in everything. We need to give our best in time, talents, and treasures. When we are seeking to be more like Jesus we need to take Jesus’ example of how to give our best.
So take a minute and self-evaluate. How are you on the giving your best scale? Are you rushing through your daily Bible readings? Are you hurrying to finish praying so you can watch television? Are you checking your watch to see how much longer worship service will last and waiting for the pastor to say, “As I close?”
God gave His Best! His only son! He did it for you and me. Can we not give Him our very best? Can we not seek to follow Jesus and recognize the needs of those around us and seek to meet those needs by doing our very best? My prayer is that we would be known for Doing Our Best for Jesus!