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Lessons from Home: Less than my best


It was less than my best effort. I peeled and sliced a couple of carrots, steamed them, and ate them with supper. I had a banana with breakfast. But that is far short of the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables.

I have been known to count vegetable egg rolls as a serving of vegetables. Is that cheating? I know better. So, why don’t I do better? Want to know what I think? I think I don’t do better because it’s too much work.

A baby spinach salad with grilled chicken breast and sliced strawberries is one of my favorite meals. And don’t forget some chopped pecans and Ken’s fat-free Raspberry Pecan dressing. Yet this spectacular salad is rarely on my weekly menu. All because it requires a trip to the grocery store for fresh ingredients.

As a widow, as someone who now eats most meals in solitude, I tend to prepare and serve meals of convenience, things I can pull out of the freezer or pantry and throw together in a few minutes. Things that take very little thought and preparation. It is just easier.

Cooking used to be a time when my husband Kim and I would team up and tackle something new and adventurous. One time, we spent an entire afternoon and evening preparing and cooking beef bourguignon. It was a date night I will never forget.

Honestly, the meal itself was good. But the planning, preparing and teamwork are what I remember so fondly. We loved pretending like we were in Julia Child’s kitchen. If we couldn’t afford a trip to France, we could at least eat French cuisine.

These days, cooking a fancy, or even a balanced meal, is just not worth the effort. Who am I kidding? Eating a balanced meal always makes me feel better. So, it IS worth the effort. Most things worth having take a little effort.

The same is true in our walk with Jesus. It is easy to pull out our favorite devotional, spend 5 minutes reading and reflecting. Then we can check it off a list of “things to do to be a good Christian” and move on. I want to suggest this approach is less than our best effort.

Truly growing in our relationship with Jesus involves spending time reading the living Word of God. It involves spending time in conversation with God through prayer. It involves being in fellowship with other believers. It involves loving and serving the people Jesus describes as “the least of these brothers and sisters of mine.”
One of my seminary professors puts it this way, “It is far more comfortable to live in the broken paradigm of ‘believing and behaving.’ The mystery of grace comes when we shift into the approach of ‘beholding and becoming’ like the risen Christ.”

As Revelation 3:20 says, “BEHOLD! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” If we are attending church, chances are we have heard the knock, and we have said “Come in.” The question for us is this, have we actually opened the door to God’s love, mercy and grace?

When we open the door, our faith moves from our head, to our heart. When we open the door, our focus shifts from the law to living out the perfect love of Christ. When we open the door, we move from simply believing and behaving to actually beholding and becoming more like Christ. When we open the door, we are born of the Spirit. When we open the door, we are giving our best to Jesus. May we always give our best!

Ann Mann is an Emmy Award winning journalist, now serving as pastor to Barnesville First United Methodist Church. Her email is

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