Less than the Best

When your children turn in assignments that reflect less than their best effort, what do you do as a homeschooling parent? I can recall a specific instance when my teenage son had, once again, turned in less than his best. Although I could have graded his paper accordingly, his halfhearted efforts were simply not acceptable this time. Scanning his poorly written essay, I asked, “Do you really think this is your best effort?”

“Yeah, I suppose so,” he responded quickly, trying to avoid any further discussion.

Not letting him off the hook, I replied, “You’ve had plenty of time to prepare, and I think we both know you can do better. I want you to study Leviticus 22:17-33 and rewrite this assignment by tomorrow.”

Shuffling out the door, I heard him sigh and mumble, “Okay.”

My children aren’t the only ones who suffered from the temptation to give less than their best. During Old Testament times, God’s people also succumbed to the temptation to offer blemished animals for their sacrifices (Malachi 1:14). God’s requirement to bring a spotless sheep, cow, or goat as an offering for sin was being ignored. Accepting an animal that was less than perfect was not permitted by the Lord (Leviticus 22:20). Today, God’s requirement of giving our best is still the same. He isn’t interested in our halfhearted efforts, and His holiness demands the best we have as we worship and offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. 

What about you? Are you giving the Lord the best part of your day in prayer and Bible study, or do you say a few quick “thank-you’s” before you fall asleep at the end of a busy homeschooling day? Do you trade sleeping in and watching TV evangelists for the effort required to become involved in a local church on Sunday morning? Do you give what’s left of your paycheck instead of tithing from the top? Like my teenage son, it’s time to write a new story with your life and start giving the Lord your best! “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

Father, You are holy, and I humbly bow before You today. Forgive me for offering my “seconds” and still expecting You to bless my life. Take me and change my heart, so it is wholly committed to You in all I do. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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Comments(9 comments)

Debbie G 08/17/2010 09:46:27

Thank you for that reminder to always give God my first and best.

AUDRA K 08/16/2011 04:45:13

Great devotional. Just what I needed to hear today. I'm going to share this with my girls. We are starting Homeschool today for the first day of our first year homeschooling. It's good for them to hear that just because mommy will be grading their papers that mommy and God expect them to always give their best effort, and great reminder for me to always do my best work as to the Lord.

Thank you for always giving such encouraging devos.

Audra k

BARBARA M 08/16/2011 05:10:25

You can learn to give God your first and your best by watching tv evangelists. God can use them to do wonderful things and reach people who the local churches simply cannot.

PATRICIA T 08/16/2012 04:44:23

Congratulations Audra! Homeschooling is such a blessing - this is our 15th year with 15 more to go :) God is faithful and will help you at each stage. -Pat T.

KAREN S 08/16/2012 13:59:59

Thank you for your devotions. They hit the spot each time. This will be our 2 year homeschooling, our son will be in 4th grade. I keep going back and forth so far if I\'m going to homeschool or put him back in public school. He got really lazy at the end of last year and so did I. :( Blessings, Karen

KATHY S 08/16/2012 18:50:02

I think that all of us have good and bad days with our children and homeschooling. There will not be a perfect world until we are home with Christ one day.

In the mean time, God expects us to try, if we try, he\'ll help us with the rest.

I Try and be flexible if my son is on overload in one subject and he doesn\'t seem as eager to do his work, we switch the mode and go to a different subject that catches his interest. As long as all the work gets done by the end of the year, it really doesn\'t matter how you divie it up. That\'s one of the beauties of homeschooling, we are able to create our childrens day. What a Blessing that is!

Thank you Jesus!

MARYJOY A P 08/16/2012 22:28:42

This really spoke to me personally. But, also I took notes to do a little Bible study on this topic with my children the day before I start the school year(Labor Day ironically). Hopefully, this will be a prayerful way for my children to start the school year on the right foot understanding what is expected from them, not just from me, but more importantly from God.

ANA M 08/17/2012 01:28:52

I have my son re-do the lessons he did poor in (D or F) because then I know he will take a second look, a second study, a second learning . I love homeschool because it gives me an opportunity to get to know my son better and reviewing things together helps us build a stronger relationship. It\'s not just about the grade.

ELBERT C 08/17/2012 04:23:53

As ALWAYS God provided the right devotion on the right day at the right time for me! Thank you for allowing God to use you to reach others through His direction. Praise God!

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