I don’t know about the rest of you but I find that I am easily distracted electronically. A few weeks ago I was reading up on some ways to study the Bible, ways to get a deeper understanding of the Word rather than just reading it and hoping that something would absorb into my mind and I came across verse mapping. In the course of reading up on verse mapping and reading numerous blogs and clicking links to other blogs and other articles. Pretty soon I found myself reading a blog article about productivity. As my extended time of being distracted online shows, I desperately need to be more productive. More times than I care to admit, I find myself distracted and all my good intentions of getting things done go out the window so I read the article and it referenced a book called Do More Better. The first part of this book speaks of our purpose as a Christian and God used it to remind me and motivate me to find and have a purpose in my productivity. It spoke of the purpose of the Christian after salvation is to do good and to bring God glory. As I thought about the reason I do things and reason I read and study the Word and the reason I come to church, I found that it was all about me. It is about my struggles, my emotions, my salvation, my disappointments and about my victories. I find that my walk with God is very internal and very self-critical. I find myself studying to be encouraged in the Word but not necessarily for the sharing and ministering to the hurting around me. When it comes time for altar call, I find myself absorbed into my own inabilities and my own insecurities that I do not feel comfortable praying with and ministering to those that are going through struggles or dealing with heart-ache, pain or even addiction. While reading this book I found myself realizing that as a Christian I was not fulfilling my purpose. God had given me the Holy Ghost, and an understanding of the Word, talents, skills and abilities and I was using them for my own self, to encourage myself, to strengthen myself, and that isn’t what God called us to do. God has called us to do good, not just for the sake of doing good but to bring Him Glory. The Bible says in Matthew 12:33, Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit and in Luke 6:44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. So if I truly want to be a Christian, a follower of Christ and claim to walk in the spirit, then my fruits should match up to the fruits of the spirit which are not self-centered or self-indulgent.
So what does goodness look like? Does it look the same on everyone? Is everyone’s fruit of goodness identical? I don’t think so we are each in different seasons of life. The season that I am in as a single, empty-nester, is going to look different than a mom with three school aged children or a couple with 4 little ones or even a wife who has a husband in the ministry. I think of the couple with 4 toddler boys at home and their goodness will look a lot like raising the boys, caring for their needs and teaching them to love God and have compassion for others. The minister's wife's goodness may look a lot like, caring for the ladies ministry of our church and of the state, giving herself to prayer and being available to encourage and minister to the hurting in our community as well as giving respite care to her children. For each of us, our goodness will look different but it should still be identifiable by those around us and will give God glory. I have to ask myself, what does my goodness look like from the perspective of those around me? Are people able to identify me as a follower of Christ? Do I display compassion, love and moderation or am I given to intolerance, impatience or extreme behavior? Can my co-workers identify me as a Woman of God by my actions and attitudes, rather than just my dress? Do I communicate with God often enough that he is able to open my eyes to the needs and the pain around me so that I can bring peace and joy to those whose lives are in turmoil? Our goodness should shine like a beacon in the world, to those outside of these walls but it should also be demonstrated amongst us, the body of Christ. In John 13:35 Jesus said that we are known to be his followers when we have love for one another. I must admit, I like my own company and like being home but am I demonstrating goodness and bringing God glory by not interacting with those around me? Am I letting my goodness shine when I come to church and go home and don’t look seek to encourage our young people who predominately come from broken or dysfunctional homes? Can I send a note to someone and encourage them and show the love that Jesus spoke of? Instead of just praying for my and my loved ones needs, shouldn't I also include those that are hurting in our church, our community and even in the world. I believe that in demonstrating goodness to those around us, whether it be our children or the addict that walks in our church or the co-worker that is going though a hard time, we can save a soul. Through goodness, we will draw people to Christ and bring Him glory. When we allow God to be our shepherd and follow him then goodness and mercy will naturally follow.