Be Good for Goodness Sake…

Ben Schoettel   -  


What is harder to believe… that we can find a spiritual principle from Santa Claus is Coming to Town, or that Christmas was just mentioned in July?

The message of those lyrics around the idea of “being good” sums up how many of us stumble into being “good” in life.

First, we have the “you’d better be good” mentality. Like a child avoiding punishment, sometimes it’s honestly our fear of getting in trouble, or our anxiety of being on somebody’s naughty list that keeps up good behavior. After all… He sees you when you’re sleeping… checking that list over and over… muah hahahahaha….

Then there’s the flip side… the goodies. Good deeds motivated by the desire to make the nice list, so we can earn affection and all the presents we can imagine, whether from God or the man in the red suit.

Even if our motivations are blurry… a good deed is a good deed. Even in the Bible we see God using the right choices of people throughout history to move His plans forward, even if their motives were not 100% pure. So, keep up with the good work.

But… what helps shape a community, a church family, from being a group of people doing good deeds to being a “goodness culture”? After all… goodness makes the “nice list”, the fruit of the Spirit that we use as a checkup on our spiritual health.

What does the Bible say about Goodness? Well… turns out that goodness and good show up a lot in scripture. TOV (the Hebrew word for good/goodness) shows up more than 700 times in the Bible. We see in the Psalms that TOV is most often reserved for describing God. Goodness is not presented as something we do, but something we receive, a presence we get to enjoy from our connection with God. It is this unique idea that God both IS goodness and GIVES goodness. We are recipients of this goodness when we align ourselves with Him.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.”

(Psalm 34:8)

“Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind.” (Psalm 31:19)

The examples go on and on…

So, what is DOING good then? How does that connect to my relationship with God and His goodness? It’s simple. Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus is God’s plan for restoring His goodness in our lives and on the Earth. Jesus surrenders Himself, giving His power through the Holy Spirit to us, so that we continue to embody Jesus to the world around us.

So, if we want to experience goodness in our lives and communities, we must see Jesus as the example, and God as the source. That recognition should lead us to a posture of gratitude and humility. Which should shift our motivations for doing good from earning something or fear of something to appreciation for all things good (which we now know from scripture, comes from God.)

Thanks be to God, from whom all blessings (and goodness) flow. Amen.