There is a very old saying: “God helps those who help themselves”. My father called this type of advice “chimney corner scripture” because it sounds like it might be in the Bible but is not. While not a Scriptural saying, it does have an element of truth in it. It agrees with a quote of Andrew Carnegie: “You can’t push anyone up the ladder unless he is willing to climb himself ”.

One of the most frustrating things that school teachers face is students who have great potential but refuse to apply themselves. Coaches feel the same way when they have a talented athlete who simply will not try. God so loves us that He gave His Son so that we can have the opportunity to live forever, how do you think God feels when most people are not interested?

Many folks recognise that God exists and that He has a plan to reward those who seek Him, but they choose not to respond. One of the reasons they give is because they don’t think they can live up to the high standards that God requires, so they would rather not try than risk trying and failing.

It is comforting to realise that God has never made a mistake. The Lord Jesus tells us that “no man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him”. There are many who simply cannot accept that God exists, but for those of us who do, who can see God’s hand working in our lives and in the world around us, and who know God’s standards are the way we should be living our lives, we have been drawn to a higher purpose. God has especially chosen all who have responded to the call of the Gospel. What a great privilege is ours.

To know this high calling and then not try? Incredible. Each of us knows whether we are doing the best we can with what we have right where we are. We have no good excuse for not trying because God does not expect us to do more than we are capable of doing. God knows more about us than we even know about ourselves because Jesus has told us, “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered”. This proves that God knows every detail about us. He knows if we are trying or not. God does know if we are doing what we could.

Remember what Jesus said of Mary when the disciples criticised her. “Leave her alone”, said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. She did what she could.”

These words would be good for us to live by. Jesus said, “She did what she could.” Are we doing what we can? Could we be doing more? If not, why not? We cannot use the excuse that we could not, because the real reason is: we will not. The Lord knows what we can do. We need to ask ourselves, Are we willing to do what we can? This is a very personal question we should not try to answer for someone else. But every so often, just like the school teacher who sees students coasting when they should be pumping, and the coach who see stars fail for lack of effort, our lack of dedication is often apparent to those around us. We may or may not be fooling others, but this one thing we do know, we are not fooling the Lord. He knows if we are trying or not, and one day soon we will have to give him an accounting of our stewardship. Are we prepared to answer the question: “Did you do what you could”?