July 2012

Goodness

John Wesley wrote this rule for life:

Do all the good that you can,
By all the means that you can,
In all the ways that you can,
In all the places that you can,
At all the times that you can,
To all the people that you can,
As long as you can.

In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus calls us to be lights of the world! The sun is the light of this world. At night, when the sun is shining on the other side of the earth, the moon becomes the light. Yet the moon is only reflecting light from the sun. Likewise, Christ is the one true light! Jesus said this in John 9:5, "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."  Jesus is light of the world. Thus, while Christ is away, we reflect His light to a dark world. Paul wrote about the Light in Eph 5:9, “for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” Three supreme characteristics of children of light are goodness, righteousness, and truth. The first fruit is goodness. There are a number of Greek words for good. One denotes that which is intrinsically right, free from defects, beautiful, and honorable. Another refers to that which is pleasant, useful, suitable, or worthy. But here Paul uses a Greek word that refers to moral excellence in both nature and effectiveness. Like agape love, this goodness finds its fullest expression in doing and sacrificing for others. It is more than being good or having good doctrine; it is actively doing good or showing benevolence to others. This is the goodness that Paul mentions in Gal 5:22 as the sixth fruit of the Spirit. 


Paul also exhorts the believers, "while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith" (Gal. 6:10). He also wrote to the Thessalonians, “To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the word of faith with power" (2 Thess. 1:11). This is the manifestation of moral uprightness in action; expressing itself in deeds. A Christian can be morally upright (have high standards and know doctrine), but still not manifest the grace of goodness- it must be expressed by deeds.
Jesus told believers to “let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Jesus used a different Greek word from Paul, which means good in the sense of powerful, excellent, strong, and attractive. It is good because our deeds are attractive and powerful expression of one’s faith. And Matthew tells us that the purpose of doing good is that it will cause others, who see our good deeds, to glorify Christ. 
Therefore, let’s make goodness (good deeds) and a characteristic of our Christian life.

Prayer of St. Francis: 
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. 
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; 
Where there is injury, let me sow pardon; 
Where there is doubt, let me sow faith; 
Where there is despair, let me give hope; 
Where there is darkness, let me give light, 
Where there is sadness, let me give joy. 
O Divine Master, grant that I may not try to be comforted but, to comfort; not try to be understood, but to understand; not try to be loved, but to love. Because it is in giving that we receive; it is in forgiving that we are forgiven; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

                                                                                                                            -Pastor Mike Kotrla