good better best
never let it rest
till your good it better
and your better is best
I can’t remember where I learned this little poem, but it has stuck with me. One of the hardest things in life is choosing the best things. When I was younger, I thought I was doing well when I didn’t do bad things. Now I realize life is not that simple. The hardest part about living life is actually NOT about choosing between really bad things and good things. It is often the choice between okay/good things and the best things. Often if we were to choose the best things the temptation to do bad things would weaken.
Okay I just said good, best, bad, and okay a bunch in a sentence. How about a story from my devotions to make it a bit clearer? Jesus goes to a dinner party and Mary decides to pour perfume on his feet and wash them with her hair. Judas protests saying something like, “we could have sold that and given a bunch of money to the poor!” Giving money to the poor is a really good thing, right? Jesus says something interesting at this point. He says, “leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you , but you do not always have me” (John 12: 7,8).
I find that interesting. Jesus understands that good things, giving to the poor, are not the best things, worshiping him. I can’t get into why Jesus is allowed to expect such worship without being wrongly selfish. I will say if you are actually worthy of worship then it is better for the worshipper to let them worship than to encourage them to worship something less worthy.
Giving money to the poor is good, Jesus is better. Jesus doesn’t tell them that giving to the poor is bad, in fact, elsewhere he commands it. Instead, he explains that HE is still the main point of it all. So I find myself asking, what good things are not the best things? What good things do am I focus on that don’t ultimately increase my relationship with Jesus?