Yesterday I was behind an SUV. Clearly, the driver claimed to be a Christian. He/She had several "Christian" bumper stickers & emblems adorning his/her car. However, one of them stood out in particular to me & made me think a little deeper into what this "proverb" was stating. The bumper sticker read: "Do your best & give God the rest."I got to thinking about what an awful testimony that piece of sticky paper was sharing with fellow drivers.
My first thought was, "'...give God the rest'? Really? God doesn't want 'the rest,' He demands ALL." In Matthew 22:37, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 which states:
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (Deuteronomy 6:5 ESV)
"ALL your heart," "ALL your soul," "ALL your might." It does not say, "Whatever you have left of your heart, soul, & might, give that to God."
And then there is Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)
These two verses could be preached on for hours by a God-fearing, Bible-believing man, but I just want to make one point. Verse 6 does not say, "...and your paths will become straight." It also does not say, "...and your life will be easier." It says "HE will make straight your paths." In other words, when you put your trust in the Lord, decisions become clearer. There is less gray in the world. There is a right way & there is a wrong way. There it the path that leads to life & the path that leads to destruction. The choices may seem clearer, however, the consequences may be more difficult. Yes, it might be clearer that sleeping around is not the right choice for a Christian, however, the consequences to a life of chastity often times leads to friends, family, & the rest of the world mocking you, tempting you even greater, & many times your life becomes an offense to the rest of the world & you may be called "holier-than-thou" or claim you are judging others. (I know from experience in this case.) Or, maybe you are given the opportunity to donate to a cause that is contradictory to the Bible. The choice is clear, you do not contribute. However, this leads to coworkers & supervisors taunting you, trying to intimidate you, threatening you, saying awful, hurtful, & often untrue things about you behind your back. In some cases, it can lead to you being fired or demoted. No, the life of a Christian is not always easy but, most of the time, the choices become simplified.
My second consideration of the sticker was of the first part, "Do your best..." What does the Bible say about our works, our "best?"
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)
who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, (2 Timothy 1:9 ESV)
But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. (Romans 11:6 ESV)
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. (Isaiah 64:6a ESV)
I've written on Isaiah 64:6a before here where I discussed the word that has, in the ESV been translated to say "polluted garment" and in other translations as "filthy rags." The original Hebrew word used here is "'iddah." Literally translated, that word refers to a used menstrual rag or pad. So, Isaiah 64:6a is basically saying that our good works, our "best" appears as a used menstrual pad to God. Our good works, to God, are useless, are nothing.
I rate this bumper sticker, "Do your best & give God the rest," right there with another popular bumper sticker, "God is my copilot." And, I'll leave you with a great bumper sticker response to the copilot sticker.