I actually had no idea whatsoever what to write about this week; not that there isn’t a wide range of possible things to gripe about: Brexit, Bleaching, Politics, Sports – I couldn’t possibly exhaust them, really. Coupled with a busy schedule, I nearly missed the Eureka moment that gave me this particular article for you.
This statement isn’t as simple as it sounds. A senior colleague said this about 2 years ago and, to my personal shame, I’m only just now understanding it.
You see, on cursory examination, it seems like an unfair statement because the laws of Karma (which you’re not necessarily subject to as a Christian btw, but that’s another story 😉 ) dictate that good people should get good things, and bad people should get bad.
In this instance, however, I found out that he was actually referring to a ‘positive’ aspect of ‘suffering’ here.
There’s this saying I’ve loved for a long while now:
“If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap than his neighbour, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Everybody is good at something, but have you really stopped to consider the actual burden of excellence?! What do you think your popular mechanic, doctor, and market woman have in common? Excellence, for either one reason or another, sets them apart from their peers. And that’s why you’ll have your car parked for days at his workshop, or go to sit in line outside his consulting room for hours, or even stand in a very long line just to be served – quality talks! The burden of that excellence is just as likely to come from not adequately preparing to handle the volume of that gift as well as the process of readying yourself to receive it. In trying to meet that demand for your ‘goodness’ in whatever field it is – you will suffer. Whether if it’s closing late often so everyone can get their cars ASAP, or being the only one regularly called in after hours to deal with an emergency, or even being the first to open up shop and to keep your prices fair in order to avoid making an ‘indecent’ profit off your fellow man…
This suffering is also evident when you pray “God, please extend my borders” and yet don’t see the value in creating enough capacity to receive all that blessing. How do you do that? You want to become the CEO of a vast business empire – what do you know about selling and buying? And what of Economics; the Stock Exchange; Investment opportunities locally and abroad; maybe even an MBA or CEMBA degree? Or let’s say you want to be the best singer alive – what do you know about solfa notation? It’s not necessarily required, but can you read sheet music? Do you know the history of music? What do you want to even be the best for? Doing all that relevant homework is suffering.
I’m sure a lot of us will be surprised one day when we arrive at the Pearly Gates weary and ask the Good Lord,
“Father, I have suffered. Why didn’t you answer all my pleas for Increase?” only for Him to reply:
“My child, Angel Thaddeus will bear witness to the fact that all of this,” He points toward a Mountain of parcels, “was headed for your life, but every time he managed to shower some unto your life, it would become full in a very short time – there simply wasn’t enough capacity for all of this in your life!”
The only thing that would stop you from weeping and gnashing of teeth then is the Presence of the Father, within which there can be no sorrow.
Good people suffer because they will have to rise to the task of continuing to be a good person by constantly widening their capacity to grow and continue in ‘goodness’.
We all know people who were ‘good’ once, but who let the fire die at some point because they were too tired of shouldering the burden.
I’d just like to remind you now that if even your part played as a good person is just to greet everyone you meet every day, it’s no waste of your time or effort.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9
That harvest is for those who don’t give up till the end.
Sometimes it feels only too easy to give up, give in, just before you believe your strength is about to give out – but it’s just a trick of the mind. You will make it…if you just hold on a little bit longer.
I think what freaks me out the most about being a good person actually is that as you make every decision to do what is right in order to be this good person, you realise that you’re not that ‘good’ after all – and that, apparently, is a good thing! Twisted, huh?? It’s sometimes at that point that people grow weary again and fall to despair because it seems that they cannot make it even after all the effort…but, this is the point that actually sets the stage for God to Step In. Confronted with the futility of your efforts, you have absolutely no choice if you wish to go on but to rely on Him because He is the only One who can take you further. Choosing to rest on Him here actually reinvigorates you to persist further as He keeps supplying your need with every step you take.
The ‘you’ factor is completely defeated and it remains only ‘Him’. I guess this is the point where…
I mean really, what strength will you have remaining to resist the Spirit’s leading when you’ve fully submitted to His Will?
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t reached that point of submission myself, but I’m not going to stop trying to reach there, and fighting with my inner human workings that consistently oppose my becoming a true Good Person.
Finally, remember this if nothing at all:
- Build capacity for the Spirit to do His work in your life.
- Never weary of doing good.
- Every. Single. Thing. You. Do. Counts.