Friday, October 9, 2009

The Greatness of Goodness

Bernie May made the following remarks in "Learning to Trust":

For the past forty years Eunice Pike has worked with the Mazatec Indians in south-western Mexico. During this time she has discovered some interesting things about these beautiful people. For instance, the people seldom wish someone well. Not only that, they are hesitant to teach one another or to share the gospel with each other. If asked, "Who taught you to bake bread?" the village baker answers, "I just know," meaning he has acquired the knowledge without anyone's help. Eunice says this odd behavior stems from the Indian's concept of "limited good." They believe there is only so much good, so much knowledge, so much love to go around. To teach another means you might drain yourself of knowledge. To love a second child means you have to love the first child less. To wish someone well--"Have a good day"--means you have just given away some of your own happiness, which cannot be reacquired.

While this concept of living seems to make no sense, there are many of us who in practice also believe in the concept of limited goodness. We feel our energy and time are often too important to be wasted on others. We decide what our limits are with regard to how often we pray, read the Bible, worship, do benevolence, and share the gospel. We tend to think there is a point at which we have done enough.

Jesus once said, "
If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away" (Matt. 5:40-42). The Son of God taught that true religion was goodness beyond measure. It has no limitations. It seeks no completed time. It is simply an attitude that is born out of godliness which grows into a life spent on the consideration of others.

If goodness subtracts anything from our true self, it is only worthless ambition and pride. Goodness actually amounts to greatness when humility is involved. This is what our Savior meant by the last being first and the first being last. Until you come to the conclusion that the best thing for your advancement is to get in the back of the line, your life will be vacant of the power of the cross.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:22-23

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