"Out of all your gifts ye shall offer…of all the best thereof" (Num. 18.29)
INTRO.: A song which encourages the Christian to fulfil his responsibility of service to the Lord by offering his very best is "Our Best." The text was written by S. C. Kirk. Very little information is available about author or the background of the song, other than that Kirk’s literary efforts seem to have been confined to pamphlets for special church services around the turn of the twentieth century, that he lived in Philadelphia, PA, and that most of his work was done for the Hall-Mack Publishing Co. A couple of other hymns by Kirk were "A Song of Praise" with music by J. G. (probably Mrs. J. G. or Emily Divine) Wilson (composer of "When We All Get To Heaven"), and "The Conqueror" which was copyrighted 1906 and published in 1907 in The Bible School Hymnal by the Tullar-Meridith Co. of New York City, NY, with music by Grant C. Tullar.
The tune for "Our Best" was composed by Grant Colfax Tullar (1869-1950). The song was first published in the 1912 Sunday School Hymns No. 2, compiled by Tullar and Isaac H. Meredith. However, after the copyright was renewed in 1940, it was owned by the Lorenz Publishing Co. Tullar is well known as providing the tunes for such hymns as "Face to Face," "Nailed to the Cross," and "Shall I Crucify My Savior?" Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "Our Best" appeared in the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater.
The song emphasizes the importance of doing our best in our service to the Lord.
I. Stanza 1 says that we must hear His call
"Hear ye the Master’s call, ‘Give what is best!’
For, be it great or small, That is His test.
Do then the best you can, Not for reward,
Not for the praise of man, But for the Lord."
A. The means by which the Master calls us, whether unto salvation or unto His service, is the gospel: 2 Thess. 2.14
B. In our service, He calls us to give Him our best, doing with our might what our hand finds to do: Eccl. 9.10
C. In what we do, we should never seek the praise of men because that leads to failure: Jn. 12.42-43
II. Stanza 2 says that we must strive to please God not man
"Wait not for men to laud, Heed not their slight;
Winning the smile of God Brings its delight!
Aiding the good and true Ne’er goes unblest,
All that we think or do, Be it our best."
A. Rather than waiting for the laud of men, we should seek to please the Lord in everything that we do: Gal. 1.10
B. It will help us to remember that aiding the good and true will never go unblest: Matt. 10.42
C. Therefore, we should determine that in all that we think or do it will be in the name of Jesus Christ: Col. 3.17
III. Stanza 3 says that we must work while we have the time
"Night soon comes on apace, Day hastens by;
Workman and work must face Testing on high.
Oh, may we in that day Find rest and peace,
Where morn eternal dawns And joys ne’er cease."
A. Night is often used to symbolize the end of life and the coming of death: Jn. 9.4
B. Because night is coming, we need to give diligence to be workmen who are not ashamed: 2 Tim. 2.15
C. Then, we can look forward to finding rest and peace "in that day" when the eternal morning dawns: 2 Tim. 1.16-17
CONCL.: The chorus repeats the theme of doing our best in the Lord’s service.
"Every work for Jesus will be blest.
But He asks from everyone his best.
Our talents may be few, Our strength be small,
But unto Him is due Our best, our all."
We do not all have the same abilities. Some can preach sermons, lead singing, teach Bible classes, and talk easily to outsiders about Christ, whereas others can prepare the communion, keep the church building clean, order Bible class material, and such things which, while perhaps not as much in the public eye are just as essential in accomplishing the Lord’s work. However, whatever talents we may have, the Lord expects us to use them in His service and do "Our Best."