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.