Our Good, Better, and Best

Our Good, Better, and Best

One great American indoor sport is looking through the huge mail-order catalogs that come by mail to us each spring and fall. What fun it is to turn to our favorite sections—toys, guns, sporting goods, shoes, tools, or almost anything your heart wants.

But beware of these three words when you see them describing certain articles—good, better, and best. And take the advice of an old hand in the catalog business, and never, never order any­thing but the best. No, never!

Why? Simply because nothing less than the best is good enough.

As you go through life, you'll discover this amazing fact: We usually have the choice of the good, better, and best, and not of the good and bad. Our failures are frequently due to choosing the second or third best, or merely the good and the better, as the mail-order catalog puts it.

Not many of us are tempted to perform truly wicked acts that would land us in reformatory school or in jail. But we are tempted to be content with ambitions, aims, and efforts that won't use half or even a tenth of our abilities. And whom do we cheat? First of all, ourselves. Then we cheat the world around us, which so badly needs the best we can give.

Did you ever hear of a Boy Scout taking this oath: "Upon my honor I promise to do half my duty to God and my country?" No, the real Scout goes all the way.

Once a young man approached Jesus and asked what was required of him for discipleship. Jesus replied that he must sell all that he had and give it to the poor. Now it is possible that if the youth had shown willingness to put Christ before his money, then Jesus would not have required this price. He was testing the young man. He failed Jesus, for he was unwilling to give up everything to be a Christian. He would give only his second best. The best cost too much, he thought.

Jesus told another story about a man who dealt in pearls. This merchant saw a beautiful pearl, one "of great price." So much did he want the best, that he sold all he had and bought it.

Another man, Jesus says, discovered a great treasure in a field. To obtain this treasure he, too, sold all he possessed and bought the field, thereby obtaining title to the treasure.

To obtain the best, happiest, most satisfying life, you must give your best to God and your fellow man. Don't hold back. Don't save half or three quarters of yourself. Strangely enough, the more we give of ourselves, the more we have left to give. The less we give, the less we have to give.

An old poem goes:

Then give to the world the best you have,
And the best will come back to you.

Our best is usually far better than we imagine. Our bodies and brains can be far more developed than we try to make them. But the best requires a price. Pay the price, and we get the best—be it physical development, athletic achievement, scholastic achievement and rating, spiritual development, or the holding of friends.

Why do some folks lead such happy, useful lives? Are they just lucky? No, here's the secret—they give their best, and the best comes back to them.

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