I heard a story recently. It was a story based in a tiny village in Italy known for its exquisite wine and carefully tended vineyards. The villagers got word that the King would soon be coming through their area. As the story goes, to honor him, they decided to present him with the very best cup of wine their region had to offer. To do so, each family in the village was told to bring a few cups of the finest wine from each of their vineyards. Then, each would pour their offering into a singular large barrel where it would be stored until the King arrived. At that time, one cup would be drawn for him from that barrel representing the very best of their region and therefore certainly fitting for the King.
The day arrived for the King to ride through the village. As the King arrived, the eldest member of the village went out to meet the entourage and was permitted to approach. The man told the King that they were honored by his presence and were prepared to offer him the region's very best wine. This wine, he went on to explain, came from the very best vineyards in the region, thus offering the very best each family had to offer. The old gentleman proudly presented the King with the finest cup the villagers could find and asked the King to draw a cup of the prized wine from the barrel.
As the King held the cup out and began to fill it, the villagers were astonished at what they saw. What filled the cup was not wine but water. One by one, they each began to sheepishly confess that instead of bringing their best wine to pour into the barrel, they had each only brought a few cups of water. They each believed that their offering of a few cups of water would never be detected in such a large barrel filled with such greatness.
The villagers were convinced that the King would never know that they weren't bringing their absolute best when surrounded by so many others who would surely be bringing their best as well.
Have you ever been tempted to bring less than your best? Have you ever thought that it would be just fine if you just 'got by' and didn't share the best of what God has put in you? Have you ever leaned on the greatness of others, thinking what you have to offer wouldn't be missed if not shared?
I'm here today to say it matters! It matters to those around you and to our King Jesus. You and what you have to offer is so special! Like the villagers in the story, if we are content with letting everyone else bring their best and think no one will notice when we don't, then we are diluting the impact collectively we can make in the Kingdom with the gifts we've been given. There is power in numbers - especially when all those people are working for Kingdom good.
Bringing your best is not perfectionism. I want to make sure you hear me clearly. Perfectionism is an elusive carrot dangled at the end of a string, always 3 centimeters out of reach. Bringing your best is also not about pleasing those around you with what you do or say. That is not the goal, and that way of living will leave you empty every time.
Bringing the very best of who we are means offering all we are created to be to those around us to honor the King.
Bringing our very best supports those around us and makes us, collectively, better. We all need each other in the body of Christ, and together, the impact we can make is so much more significant than alone. So, this week, pause. Find that place where you might be tempted to not bring the very best of who you are and STEP IN. Hear what God wants to say over you, about you, and why what's in you matters.
Everyone around you is waiting for you to show up and simply be incredible you! Not perfect, not to please anyone, but to honor King Jesus, who is ready to receive the very best of who we are as we build the kingdom - together.
"For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too—the many—are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. Since our gifts vary depending on the grace poured out on each of us, it is important that we exercise the gifts we have been given." - Romans 12:4-6a