Sometimes, not all the time, I feel like some people I work along side of at the local soup kitchen do good but with a cap to their goodness. Without going into specifics it seems like there are individuals who do x, who do y, but z? Well they’ve done enough good so “z” can be done by someone else. I have a hard time with people who put a cap on goodness, because honestly good will only get you so far…
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
As I examine this passage found in the Bible, the way I read into it…good only gets you so far. Jesus tells the manyou know the commandments and while the man does know them he leaves in a sorrowful state, why? He was good but when it came to relinquishing his wealth, he wasn’t able to let go and follow Jesus. His goodness drove him to follow the 10 commandments found in the Torah, but when it came to wealth (to which I wonder how he was able to be wealthy in that day and age) there was the dead end, there ended his goodness…
Jesus didn’t come and live among us some 2000 years ago simply to make us “good people” or to even start a new religion, he came to show us a better way of living, to flip the paradigm of strength and force is power and that’s the only way to get ahead in this life…Jesus came into this world by simple means, his first bed was a feeding trough for animals, none of that points to a Savior who came to conquer and take over. The people who welcomed Jesus into the city with shouts of Hosanna and the waving of palm branches were the same ones who yelled for his crucifixion. Any belief that Jesus was someone who came to overturn the Roman government was shattered, the Messiah did in fact come, but he wasn’t the Messiah people were looking for…and to some degree he’s still not the Messiah people expect let alone want.
But back to goodness; being good isn’t what God calls us to be, because even God knows good will only get you so far. We’re called to follow him, to have faith in who He is and what He did, we’re called to serve others in His name, we’re called to love others in His name. We’re t0 help out and even stand along side the people who have been marginalized, the people who have been oppressed.
Good does have its place, but if we’re just being good for goodness sake, we will eventually reach a wall that stops us from doing more good, because good in itself is not self-sustaining, good paired with doing things for God by way of doing things for others is in fact the way to go about doing good, that kind of good has the power to keep going and going and going.
Do good, but do good for God and for others, because that is how Kingdom work can be achieved.