By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE
“Proverbial Goodness!” (last in a series of four articles focusing on ancient proverbs from the Bible and the sayings of other cultures.)
“I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. 27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds. 28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.” – Psalm 119:26-28 (NIV)
It’s no big secret that confession is good for the soul. Pastors, rabbis, and priests listen to confessions all the time. Therapists do, too. Friends will never charge you for spilling your guts to them over beer or wine or a brat, but you won’t always get the best response or the one you need when it’s served up free. We pay a price for our deeds, no? For me, it is a question of not only how much I will end up paying but what will be the cost to others nearby.
As this four-part article gets summed up I will try to complete a circle of thought which helps conclude there is goodness all around us, goodness in you and me and goodness in others even when it is sometimes difficult to find.
Almost 2000 years ago as Jesus was teaching those following him, he provided this image…
”The greatest among you will serve. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Matthew 23:11-12
What is your ‘code’ for living? Where does the balance show up as you live between the thick and thin? In phrases like “Big boys don’t cry?” and “Do unto others before they do unto you?” Or is your life focus captured in words like… “Well, I just fly by the seat of my pants” or “I can pull myself up by my own bootstraps.” You and I have heard people say these things… and yet we know how ineffective this kind of code can be!
Socrates once said… “The unexamined life is not worth living.” These are perhaps seven of the most powerful words ever spoken and reflecting more … “Let us examine and probe our ways and let us return to the Lord!” from the Book of Lamentations (3:40) written almost 200 years earlier. Stay connected to God. Faith matters.
Would it not be a good thing for you or me to take a moment to look in the mirror and reflect over how we have spent our days thus far? None of us ever stays the same … thank God… or as Heraclitus, who lived around 500 BCE in Ephesus said… “No person ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river nor is that person the same.” Change happens… and for some more than others.
Why is this important? Well, YOU are important! I am important! WE are important! This reality is found not only in the Bible but also noted in the ancient sayings of humanity. We’re all in this together. We must be. For as our proverbial goodness comes from God… and as each of us has some… and as we claim it… finally, then, we must use it… as Siddhartha Gautama pointed out 2500 years ago along the plains of the Ganges… “Suffering exists.” And it is the proverbial goodness which lives and breathes in us that addresses the personal suffering we experience, and the suffering experienced by others. It is what it means to share in the fullness of life.
Our souls are weary, good friends… an ever-present thing… yet not new. Hold on and have hope. St. Paul wrote to his friends in Corinth with an urgent thought… “The day of salvation is today…” reminding all there is no time like the present. May we claim God’s goodness and discover our greatness in our service to all.
Rev. Dr. Brian K. Gigee is a long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches in Texas and Louisiana over the last four decades. Follow his blog ‘murmurings’ at https://briangigee.wordpress.com/. Please send your comments and / or questions to [email protected].