Our son, Kenny, likes T-shirts. I don’t know how many he has. And he may not even know! But he has lots and lots of T-shirts!
He especially likes T-shirts with a message. And he likes to give them to others. Several years ago, Kenny gave Norma Jean and I matching T-shirts with a two-word message: “Do good!” When ever we wear them, we receive positive comments. And, of course, we are reminded in a pretty overt way to practice the message we are proclaiming!
Our word of the week is “Good.”
The Bible speaks of something or someone being “good” 699 times. We read of “good works.” “Good deeds.” “Good testimony.” “Good fruit.” “Good conduct” “Good stewards.” “Good confession.” “Good seed.” “Good treasure.” “Good minister.” “Good reputation.” And simply, “good things.”
The word “good” almost needs no definition. We have an internal, intuitive notion of what it means to do good, or be good. I can remember as a little kid when I misbehaved and my Mom would furrow up her brow, get an aggravated look on her face and scold me by saying, “Be good!” I knew what that meant!
However, being good, is not just an absence of being bad! Goodness is not a rigid legalism of “do’s,” and “don’ts” and “thou shall’s” and “thou shall nots.” It is an attitude expressed in action. A mind-set put in motion. It is positive, constructive deeds that a good person does, because he is, well, good! The New Testament actually uses several different Greek words to teach us about doing good.
Jesus is our great example. He is called “good teacher” and “good master.” Jesus identifies himself as “the Good Shepherd.” His goodness spoke to his inner nature. His virtue. His character. Christ calls us to “be good.” To develop a good heart. A heart that is holy. Pure. Undefiled. Good!
Out of a good heart comes good deeds. Luke records that Jesus “went about doing good.” This word has to do with bestowing benefits to others. Of being a benefactor. Or doing philanthropic work.
Paul encourages us “not become weary in doing good,” but exhorts us “as we have opportunity, (to) do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Gal 6:9-10)
Christians are called to do “good works.” Develop “good habits.” Wage a “good warfare” against sin and Satan. Be a “good soldier.” Cultivate a “good conscience.” “Overcome evil with good.” “Cling to that which is good.” And share “the Good News!”
The wise man was right, “I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives” (Eccl. 3:12).
Or in the words of the 18th century Quaker missionary, Stephen Grellet, “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness I can show to any fellow-creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman