“Giving Him Our Best”
By: Lisa Velez
April 2, 2006
Ever since this past Christmas in 2005 our church drama ministry has had a new director. Her name is Elizabeth, however her last name is still unknown to me.
I thought I’d recognized her as soon as I’d seen her for the first time but only a few months ago. She used to play on one of America’s favorite TV sitcoms, “The Cosby Show,” back in the day, as Vanessa’s chatty friend, as I’m sure many reading this remembers. Her curly black hair, tiny figure and pretty young face have never changed. She still looks like she’s only 18, which I’m sure she’ll always be inside. Still, age is nothing but a number. It’s what your heart deep within tells you that you are.
I knew “Liz” was going to be a blessing to our ministry, as well as our church, right from the start. With her knowledge of acting and performing and ministering to an audience, she was the one to be excited about having in our corner. She had been serving in North or South Carolina in her old church and had been transferred to ours. Well, God is so awesome indeed because she has become just what we needed and right in the knick of time too.
And so, I in the choir and my husband in the orchestra playing his favorite percussion, our Christmas production went off almost perfect, by the grace alone of God, all thanks be to Him for giving us someone who had finally come to get our act together all to spread His word to the lost and hurting.
It’s been sad but true what our Choir director/play writer and producer, Pastor Ken, has been saying to us. We’ve been taking our ministry for granted, thinking that simply because we volunteer we can just “come and go as we please” never worrying or even contemplating what time we get to or leave rehearsal, or we just feel “too tired” to even give it a try. Sometimes we forget to remember what the Lord Himself has told us, “You that are heavy laden, trust in Me for I will give you rest.” Yes, we put in a lot of hard and long hours, but to even bring but one soul, one heart in to the Kingdom of Eternity is worth every single effort we could ever give.
Every time Pastor Ken either speaks with us individually or as a group, I’ve known that I too have been guilty of not taking the ministry as seriously as I should. There are times that my husband and I have had to work during rehearsals as we own our own Christian DJ business, and there have been times where our school has had meetings or our annual science fair, etc., and those are things we just couldn’t get out of and events which we should be excused for. But then, there are those times when I should have forced myself to get up and get to practice come rain, snow or sunshine, (provided there’s no blizzard or tornado baring down on us at the time.) I mean the music and drama ministry of our church has always meant so very much to me, but working in the school with the little ones, which is part of the church, is tiring, then to drive all the way home a little over a half hour from there, take care of our dogs and bunny, cook, then turn around and go back for practice, which could get out extremely late the closer it gets to the play, is mind-boggling at times. Like I said, sure it’s always worth it, but sometimes you just begin to feel physically exhausted, which, being human is understandable.
Then, being a Christian, I begin to remember, as I have recalled many, many, many times, that Jesus, God’s Son, came to this world to die for us. He was exhausted, He was tired, He was mocked, He was made fun of, He was scorned, He was nailed to a cross, He went through it all, though He was drained many times, being Himself human, all for our sakes, so then we must do everything we can to repay Him for such sacrifices. Still, many times we let our stupid and ignorant flesh get the better of us, as the devil would like us to do, instead of doing the Lord’s will. He doesn’t want anyone to hear about Jesus, but he knows he stands no chance of winning so he trembles at the precious name of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
It still amazes me to this day that, no matter what we do or say to the Lord Jesus, whether we forget to call on His name on a certain day, or we break His heart over and over and over again, still He’s there waiting with open arms to welcome us home again, the lost sheep, leaving the other 99 behind. What an awesome God we serve, I must say it again, this being the main topic for Liz’s speech to us today after practice for our new Easter Play, “Redemption,” coming upon us all within a matter of a few weeks.
There stood our sister in Him, precious Liz, sharing her deepest feelings from deep within her heart and soul, as her eyes became red and teary, she was not afraid to share the truth and to remind us of what Pastor Ken always says, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
Of all the things Liz talked about this afternoon, I don’t think I’ll ever forget these words. Even though she’d said it before, somehow, in some way, the words were deeper this time, and clicked within me, way down to my core, embracing my heart, and making me so aware of my actions and wrong doings that I too, couldn’t stop the tears from falling myself.
With microphone in hand and a soft, loving, but serious voice, Liz said to all of us present, “I do not expect perfection from any of you, as none of us is perfect. What I do expect is that we give God our best.” She said, “We should always give God our best because He deserves all the glory for everything He’s done for us.” Even in past weeks she’s said that she didn’t want to see only our church people in the seats to minister to only those who already know Jesus, but that we need to seek the lost and give them tickets so that they too can hear His word and join our loving family. She went on to say that, “Because we serve an awesome God, and because He came in to this world to die and rise for us so that we could live with Him forever in Heaven, we needed to repay Him back by giving Him the very best that we had to offer.” And as the tears welt up in her eyes, I began to feel her heart’s cry, because it indeed was the cry of the Father as well, speaking through her.
I really respect a person who can share from her heart of hearts, not being mean and nasty, but by simply looking us all in the eyes, with such love and humbleness, crying out for us to give unto the God who is so worthy of everything we are and all that we have. I thank the Lord for sending us such a servant to teach us how to serve in a way that He deserves to be served. We could never ever repay Him in total for all that He’s done, but we can sure do our best, and not falter for a moment’s time.
It’s not to say that it’s easy to do because, God’s word clearly says, “The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” And oh, how true that statement is. Jesus Himself, again being human, as he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, He was so terrified of the way He was going to die that He actually perspired in blood. And as afraid as He was, He still chose the nails for us. And we often times ask, “Who are we that the Lamb of God should be sacrificed for us who deserve the cross ourselves, 10000000 plus times over?”
I am so sorry for the times I’ve been “too tired,” or “just didn’t want to go because “I” felt we’d been practicing a little too much.” All I can promise is that “I will” make every effort to improve little by little until I can measure up to the Father’s expectations. I know we cannot change overnight…then again; sure we can, if we believe He can change us; as long as we listen to His calling and come running.
Liz and her husband, who’s played pro basketball on television and then some, are not here in NJ to show off their celebrity by no means at all. They’re here to glorify God and to make Jesus famous, and to teach us to do it the right way, not “our way” or in “our time.” We all need help to get back on the right road towards Jesus sometimes, even if we need a push instead of just a warm hand to hold. I admit sometimes I need a good kick in the butt, but then again that’s what my best friend Jen is for. She knows what I mean. She’s also in the play, playing Pilate’s wife, go figure. She, as well is always dedicated, no matter what comes her way, she’s at practice, reminding us of how important it is for us to be worshipping God with our actions and praises through our ministry, reaching out to the world, who, let’s face it, right now is deathly ill. Jesus is really coming soon; I can feel it.
There is a Barry Manilow song that came out in 1992, called, “The Best of Me.” The chorus goes, “You were my one more chance I never thought I’d find, you were my one romance, I’ve always known in my mind. No one will ever touch me more. And I only hope that in return, I might have saved the best of me, for you.” And that’s what we need to sing to the Lord from way down in our beings. His love is the greatest “Love” our hearts will ever know. He’s the one who always gives us second, third, fourth and many, many more chances upon chances that none of us ever deserve. But “in return” we should have “saved the best of “us” for “Him.”
I pray the Jesus bless Liz and her beautiful family-her husband and beautiful five-year-old daughter, Hannah, who have “saved the best of them for the Lord,” and are giving us “their best” by serving “God” in the ways they know He needs to be served. Part of me sometimes even thinks she may be an angel come to set us straight. How does that Bible verse go? It’s my favorite verse, actually, the one that says something like, “Be careful how you treat a stranger because you could be entertaining angels.” I just love that verse. And one can see God permeate through her eyes, that it gives you the chills just to sit and hear her talk about Him.
Now, I could sit here, at “daylight’s saving time” – 1:50AM, rambling until the “cow jumps over the moon and the dish runs away with the spoon,” which could take a while. However, the importance has already been stated. We need to remind ourselves each and every day of the importance of giving back to God and His kingdom by helping those in the dark come in to His light. That’s just one more jewel in each of our Heavenly crowns. And I know, at this point in time, as there are many to follow, I’m sure, Liz and her husband and daughter have more jewels in their crowns than they could ever calculate on the mathematical scale.
And so, with this being said, in every moment of every new day and every starry night, let’s always strive to give Jesus “Our very best.” After all, He gives us His best every time we blink our eyes, every time we take a breath, every time our hearts beat in time. He is such an extraordinary God. And though the enemy would have me doubt and be confused when I read the Bible alone, etc., today, I was finally set straight, and look forward to never doubting again, and living solely to giving Him “The Best of Me.”
God bless all of you who have read this, especially Liz. Thank for being a blessing to not just mine, but to the entire choir, drama team and orchestra’s lives. You are forever a part of our family. Maybe Bill Cosby will come and get saved at one of our plays. One can only hope and pray, right?
Hallelujah… To God be the glory – every – every day!