Presently I am involved in the massive job of cleaning out both my home and church office. I am discovering things I had either forgotten about or didn’t know I had.
One serendipity is finding short quotes I’ve jotted down on a card or scrap of paper that never got filed. Here’s one on the back of a card from Miss Mary Bobo’s in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Apparently I heard it there. Or maybe read it on a plague in their gift shop.
“Whenever I feel a little depressed, I go do something good. And I feel better.”
While I understand that curing chronic or clinical depression is more complex than just doing a good deed, there is some great truth contained in this quote to beat the blues or a case of mild depression.
Paul encourages us “not to 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)
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.”
Jesus is our great example. Luke comments on His life and says that “he went about doing good” (Ax 10:38). While the Bible uses different Greek or Hebrew words that are translated “good” this word has to do with bestowing benefits to others. Of being a benefactor. Or doing philanthropic work.
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! I also knew what it meant when I was praised for doing something good.
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 shalt’s” and “thou shall nots.” It is an attitude expressed in action. A mindset put in motion. It is positive, constructive deeds that a good person does, because he is, well, good!
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 18th-century Quaker missionary, Stephen Grellet, expressed it this way: “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.”
Doing good for others helps take the focus off ourselves. It redirects our energy from the negative to the positive. And it provides a feeling of satisfaction and significance when we make a difference in the life of another person.
British actor, Tom Hiddleston made this pertinent observation. “Doing good in this world, and being kind and being honest and noble is really underrated…I think everyday people have enormous power for good, and if you’re good to people, the world is a better place.”
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).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman