While listening to a podcast about a successful businessman from Lagos, Nigeria, I heard a motivating message that reminded me to always give my best, regardless of the situation.

This story was told by the man’s daughter, as he had already made his journey to be with the Lord.

She said, “My father surprised me one day when a friend appeared at our doorstep. The man had an interview scheduled for the next day, but he was frantic because he did not own a suit. My father never wavered or hesitated. He grabbed his best suit from the closet and gave it to the man.”

She was stunned. “Father, how can you give away your best suit? Isn’t this your favorite suit?”

He replied, “When I give away something that means so much to me, I know I’m doing things for the right reason. That suit will do more good for him than for me.”

Doing Our Best

Those of you from San Antonio have most likely heard of the annual Fiesta Oyster Bake event. One of our parish ministries, LOVESTRONG Marriage, agreed to work the pulled pork booth on a Saturday, starting from 9 am to midnight.

This was my first time spearheading the registration effort for this volunteer opportunity. It was also my first time working a booth, so I was a bit nervous. I was happy it was a couple’s event, so I would not be alone. In fact, the fellowship was great because each shift had multiple couples participating.

I was impressed that every couple committed to giving their best. All 20 couples arrived on time and with great energy to work their 2-hour shifts.

No one complained.

No one sat around waiting to be directed. Everyone took action and made sure we served the best pulled pork tacos to the hungry crowd.

We gave away our best suit, and we loved every minute of it!

Intention Matters

As I get a bit older, and perhaps wiser, I realize the value of intention. It’s important that I am clear regarding why I am involved in anything.

This attitude and mindset even hold true in my work as a college professor. If I merely go through the mechanics of teaching, such as delivering a lecture and grading assignments, I am not doing my best.

In other words, there is a sharp distinction between doing what I must do vs. what I should do. I am a far more effective teacher when I am pleasant with my students, show empathy when necessary, and when others can tell I love my work.

If I am unable to go the extra mile in my work, it’s probably time to do something else.

My salary is often calculated by the quantity of work I do. However, the real value I can bring to my students and colleagues may be hard to pinpoint.

In other words, showing love, compassion, and caring for others is difficult to measure. Yet, these values are what others remember most when interacting with me.

The message for me … Love others first, and don’t worry about receiving anything in return.