What is Good?

October 31, 2012

What is Good?

God looked upon creation and saw that it was good. For “good” to be a part of existence from the very beginning, we seem to still have a difficult time defining what “good” is. There are several different ways we discern if something is good or not. First, and in no particular order, we define goodness in relative terms. Are the Dallas Cowboys a good football team? Well, they seem to be better than the Saints, but they aren’t as good as Louisiana Tech these days. Is Chile’s a good restaurant? Well, it’s not Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian at Disney World, but it’s better than a taco truck. The problem is that this measure of goodness is self-referential. There’s no real definition or standard. The second way we discern goodness is majority rules. In other words, if we as a culture agree that something is good, it is. Hamburgers are a good thing. Giving the thumbs up is a good thing. Here . . . in America. Different societies have different levels of what is good and acceptable, but just because most say it is good, doesn’t mean it is. A third is hedonism. It is good because it feels good, but there are a lot of things that feel good, but aren’t good for us. A fourth measure of goodness is personal opinion, or moral relativism. If I think it’s good, it’s good. I am the measure of truth. He has told you, O mortal, what is good. So what did God say?

Earlier in chapter six, the Lord says, “O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me! For I brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” God brought us out of Egypt. It is something that God did for us. It was not earned or deserved. God moved toward us first. This is prevenient grace—God loving us even before we know who God is. God redeemed us from the house of slavery. It is not enough to bring us out of Egypt because while we were in the wilderness we kept looking over our shoulder back at Egypt thinking, “At least back there we had a roof over our head. I guess slavery is ok if I feel safe.” God redeemed us from slavery. This is Justifying Grace; God’s redeeming power through Christ, which shows us how to live and how to die so that we might live again. God sent us Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. God provided guides and leadership to empower us to live out God’s will. This is Sanctifying Grace, the power of the Holy Spirit to empower us to live as Christ lived. By grace through faith, God loves us, God shows us how to live, and God empowers us to live on the way which leads to life. He has told you, O mortal, what is good—God’s grace. Grace is the measure of goodness. It’s not that God does good things; it’s that what God does is good.

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. Do you see that what God does for us matches with how God wants us to respond? God brought us out of Egypt; therefore God wants us to respond by doing justice. God wants us to go out into the world and open the eyes of the blind, free the oppressed, offer value to those who have been told they have none. God redeemed us from slavery; therefore we must learn to love kindness, meaning that we need to change our framework of desire. What do you love? Where your treasure is, you heart will also be. Our checkbook is also our devotion book. Where is kindness happening? This is a two-fold challenge of the church. We should invest in where kindness is happening, and we must strive daily for the church to be the place where kindness is shared. God offered Moses, Aaron, and Miriam as guides; therefore we must walk humbly with God. Follow God’s lead and walk humbly—walk humbly. I am not so bold to say that Broadmoor is the author of salvation, but it is a great place where salvation is lived out. Allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our discernment and choices. Just recently we put together a mission statement which reads, “Broadmoor is a caring people sharing Christ’s love with all.” Our daily prayer is that as a family of faith we are walking humbly with God.

It’s time to make a commitment. We were thinking about having children but we felt like we couldn’t afford it and we weren’t prepared enough. We didn’t know enough about having children. May father said, “If you wait until you’re ready, you will never be ready.” That’s one of the funny things about church. The church, on more than one occasion, asks you to make a commitment founded in trust and faith rather than certainty. In Baptism, you promise to accept Jesus as Lord. What does that look like twenty years from now through the peaks and valleys of life? In marriage we ask you to promise to love your spouse in good times and bad for richer for poorer. What does that look like after your twentieth anniversary? Life is uncertain, which is why God says for us to walk humbly with him.

The only thing I will ever ask you to do with your money is to invest in what is good. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s. God calls us to use our gifts to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our Lord . . .