Kathy Bernard - Publisher

I had a Christian friend who made a conscious study of successful people around her.  In her eyes they were the ones who seemed to have everything and the things they didn’t have were not worth having.  Their worries and troubles appeared minimal, and as far as she could see they had all the trappings of the good life.  By comparison her life was drab and uneventful with constant worry about bills, paying the rent, and the steady rise in food prices. Bad luck consistently knocked on her door.  Male companionship if it came was filled with temptations that offered no future and the few friends she tried to cultivate abandoned her when she was no longer useful to them.  But through it all she remained steadfast in her beliefs.  She prayed faithfully and went to Mass on Sunday.  When things got rough she leaned on her faith, but in the back of her mind there was always that disquieting thought that she was getting the “short end of the stick” by comparison to others.

As time went by she became discouraged and cynical.  “I try so hard” she cried, “and nothing good comes back to me.  I see these people who don’t go to church, breaking every one of God’s commandments and yet they are blessed with good fortune.  Maybe I should be like them. They have it all.  God doesn’t care that much about me.  I am trying hard to be a good Christian, but God won’t help me out.  What good is being good?”

If we are just looking at the good fortune some have in spite of not living according to God’s rules and comparing it to our own lives, read Matthew 5:45. Here Jesus tells us that the sun shines on the good and the bad, and sends rain on the just and the unjust while we are here on this earth.  We who follow what He teaches will reap the harvest when He returns again.  That will be our biggest treasure.  Those living sinfully will be separated and doomed forever.  So seeing others successful in all endeavors without God in their lives is not the yardstick whereby we measure our faith and trust in the Father. Salvation and Eternity is the primary measure in all things for He did not promise paradise on earth but if we believe in Him He will supply us with all that we need.

Webster defines good as being “honorable, worthy, virtuous, and valid.  It is something that is genuine and real.  We know as Christians God requires us to be good.  For that reason He helps us to be good in spite of our sinful nature.  Doing things contrary to God’s teachings puts our souls in serious jeopardy.   Satan, in the business of gaining souls for his own purposes, knows our weaknesses and will wrap the most horrific sin in such beautiful packaging that we are tempted to accept what is being offered to us.  We vainly think these offerings will make us happy and it does for the moment.  Then the self-hate and recriminations we feel afterwards becomes momentous.  We carry that heavy yoke until things are made right with our Heavenly Father. 

In addition to the multitude of ways in which we sin is the sin of omission.  One sin of omission could be the thoughtless way in which we sometimes shed our Christianity in tough situations and become one with the world.  And we can also sin in the workplace or with friends by keeping silent when we know what is being said is wrong and so we deny Him by not speaking up.  Like St Peter, when we realize what we are doing we experience deep shame and sorrow.    

The material things we acquire are things of this life and we cannot take them with us when we die because we are only temporary stewards for whatever God chooses to give to us.  So when we say “Everything you see here is all mine; my money that I earned, my house that I bought, the car, my job, all my jewelry, my special talents, etc.” realize that we are only caretakers for all these things.  Reading Luke 12:15, we find a rich man planning to tear down his barns so he could build bigger and better ones in order to store his massive crops and all his worldly goods.  He bragged, “I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.”   But God tells the man, “Fool, tonight your soul will be taken from you and then whose things will those things be which you have”?

Ultimately everything belongs to God.  The more earthly things we possess, the more we will have to account for on the day of reckoning. Once we get away from self and what we think we need to make us happy we will find that having too much baggage is burdensome. It becomes difficult to get where we want to be and that is to be united with the Father.  Paring down the excesses and concentrating on the final destination reminds us life is but a brief sojourn. The very things we think we need may take us farther away from Our Heavenly Father or put Him in second place.  Luke18:22 tells about the rich young ruler who comes to Christ and asks how he could receive Salvation.  Jesus looked beyond the man’s earthly wealth to his soul, which was full of sin and damnation and told him to give all his possessions away to the poor as a show of faith and trust and follow His teaching.  In sorrow, the rich man turned away.  We do not want to be like that. For what profits a man or woman to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? (Mark8:36)

How often we feel we are not getting our fair share.   We begin to think that being good is not getting us where or what we think it should.  We look around us and everybody else seems to be doing better than we are in spite of our qualifications.  Remember when we were children how we all wanted that one leftover piece of cake?  It became highly valuable in our eyes because it was the last piece.   Each child thought he or she deserved it and after a spirited bid by all of us my mother would get the knife and under our watchful eyes slice that one last piece to accomodate all of us and make the portions as even as possible.  But it still seemed as if the bigger piece always went to one of the others. “It’s not fair” we would loudly cry. We could get quite adamant about it, turning vicious and jealous, instead of enjoying what was given to us.  We felt we were being cheated.  In exasperation my mother would wisely say, “but you have more frosting on yours”.  This would shut us up immediately and leave the child holding the so-called larger piece thoughtful.   She made us feel that somehow ours was better in some respect we couldn’t recognize at first in our quest for the biggest piece.   This is how we must look at life.  It isn’t about the biggest piece; it is about the quality of that piece.  For the Christian that “smaller piece” may be the key to the precious storehouse of treasure in our Father’s Kingdom.

It is not God’s intention for us to be unhappy.  Looking around us, we can see God’s Hand in the beauty of life.  It might be in the laughter of a child, the voice of a loved one, or even the enjoyment of a meal.  When our spirits are down, we may get that phone call we never expected to receive or find a book we had been searching so long to find.  There are great blessings everywhere if we take a moment to savor the goodness our Lord has provided.  Anticipate the good that will come our way, for God in His mercy wants us to experience a taste of the happiness we as Christians will be enjoying forever.  

What good is being good?  Being good is realizing that with faith we can count on God providing us with whatever we need for this short stay here.  Being good is the gladness we feel about our Christianity.  Being good is the joy we carry in our hearts as we make our way through life in the glorious friendship we share with the Father. Being good is looking forward with great anticipation to the time when we will see our Lord face to face.  We travel light, without the cost of excess baggage.  We stand firm in the knowledge that whatever we do acquire has only been placed in our care for a limited time. When Christ comes again His voice will be heard saying, “Come forth those who have done good, to the resurrection of life”. (John 5:29) This is the final and fundamental good of being good.

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