Updated: Apr 4, 2020
As a kid I was a goody two shoes. I don't know where that phrase comes from, but I do know that I exemplified it. I worked hard at the "better than" game. If you had asked me I could tell you all of the kids (and some adults) who weren't NEARLY as good as I was. There were times I played the game with God. I could tell Him all the people who told me and, more importantly, told my parents how good I was. But the question kept nagging me- was I good ENOUGH?
In Mark 10:17 a man came up to Jesus with this very question in mind. He asked Jesus, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" In his question you can hear where his head was. Have I done enough? Is there something I am missing? I don't want to miss out on heaven.
Jesus answer, as it often was, was in a direction the young man was not expecting. Jesus said, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone." Jesus was already setting the young man up for the failure that he was soon to be confronted with. "No one is good except God alone."
Jesus then asked the young man if he had kept the commandments, and even gave him a few examples. The young man answered that he had, and I'm sure like the rest of us would have thought, "Good. I've passed the test." But then Jesus took His message of God's goodness versus ours to the next level.
"You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me." Mark 10:21
At this, the young man went away "sorrowful" and "disheartened" for "he had great possessions".
It's a powerful scene as we think of this young man walking away from Christ because of wanting to hold onto the things of this world. But it's even more powerful when you think of what Jesus said of being good.
Good isn't just following rules. Good is being willing to give up all of those things I hold onto so tightly. All of those things that give me self-importance and self-sufficiency. Good is being able to give all of that up for another.
Now you might say, "But, Doug, I could give up my wealth and possessions." And I'm sure there were things this young man would have given up to show that he was "good". But God looks into our hearts and lives and says, "But would you give up..." and He finds our selfish areas and gives us the same choice.
Remember what God gave up? His ONE and ONLY Son for us. What Jesus gave up? The glories of heaven to live among us and eventually to die for us.
Is anyone THAT good? Am I? The hard answer is no, not on my own. The only good in me comes from Christ living in me. As Galatians 2:20 states,
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who live sin me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Loved and gave. How good is our God? Good enough to love and give. As Christ lives in me may I love and give, and in that show the goodness of God.
May we all,