To Do Good and Be Good Even When it is Difficult

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“Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). What does it mean to do good? There are secular ways of answering that question, but we Christians know that there is a higher sense of that word that we are called upon to witness to with our very lives. The “good” that we follow is modeled to us in the life of Jesus Christ.

We are to do as Jesus did, that is, we are to be people for others in all things, in all ways, with our whole being. By our baptisms and our faith in Jesus Christ, we are given the opportunity to serve others in the manner that Jesus did, that is, with self-giving love. It is in this manner that we are called to willingly and cheerfully serve those closest to us and even those whom we do not know, but encounter in our daily lives.

This kind of behavior flies in the face of our modern cultural milieu. In this age of absolute individualism, where the ego reigns supreme, the idea of humble service for the sake of others is often considered foolishness, or is seen as the job of “government,” not us. We live in a culture that, more often than not, puts its hopes for happiness in things, in status, or fame, neglecting, even denying the dimension of ultimate mystery. Indeed, the proclamation of the ultimate truths of faith in Jesus Christ are often ridiculed, or suppressed by the culture. It closes the door to transcendent truth and, as a result, it is riddled with doubts. “Truth” in this culture today, more often than not, is considered merely a matter of personal tastes, rather than a matter of absolutes that govern all human choices and the common good.

We Christians are to be good and to do good, even when it is difficult. The good that we are called by Jesus, the suffering servant, to do, is to love as he loved. We are to see the face of Jesus in all we know and meet. To give drink to the thirsty and food to the hungry; by being present to the sick and those imprisoned, we are doing the good that Jesus has asked us to do in his name. Through our willing and cheerful choices to accept Jesus’ call to, “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48), the abundance of God’s grace flows into the world. By our doing good, God’s love is made present to those we serve and they can come to know God through the good we do for them. In responding willingly to Jesus’ call to do good, we will one day “reap” the promise of heaven, “if we do not give up.”

Lord, Believing in you, we find our reason for being and our purpose. Help us to be your good and faithful servants to all the people we encounter in our daily lives. Give us even more generous hearts, so that we can love our families, our neighbors, and the poor more dearly. We pray in your name, Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.