When GOOD is Great!
When good is great! Maybe you’ve never heard of it this way, but that’s what we are going to discuss today.
While I was at the gym, a world class professional athlete who attends our church was also there. She is a professional trainer, body builder, in great shape and an all-around great person. I asked her if she was in training, and she said she was no longer competing and was now trimming down. She told me that she has lost 20lbs of muscle! Most of us are trying to lose 20lbs of fat and here is this professional athlete trying to lose 20lbs of muscle. I asked her how she was accomplishing this and she told me it was similar to when anyone tries to lose weight – cutting down on what she eats, reducing the intensity of her workouts, etc. This made me realize how much of a goal-oriented person she is. I wish all of us were more like that in more areas of our lives.
What’s a good goal for you in 2017? Losing 20lbs of muscle? Probably not for most of us, but we should have some goals we are shooting for in 2017. I think one of the most important goals we should have is to get closer to God.
What does it mean when good is great? Back in 2001, Jim Collins wrote a book called Good to Great, discussing how you can go from being good to being great. What’s interesting is that he highlighted eleven companies that went from good to great. The question is, where are those companies now? Many of them aren’t so great anymore. Many of them aren’t even in existence any longer. This tells us that sustaining greatness over the long haul isn’t really sustainable. It’s very difficult to achieve. So, the goal shouldn’t be to work at being great, because there are only a handful of people who are truly “great” at what they do and greatness isn’t sustainable long-term.
In the most recent Presidential election, President-Elect Donald Trump’s slogan was “Make America Great Again”. I like that slogan. When it comes to aiming high, l like the saying “Shoot for the stars and if you miss, at least you’ll hit the moon.” But, is greatness really what we’re after? There’s an amazing verse of scripture found in Micah 6:8 “… the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” I think one of the most important goals we could have in 2017 is to live out Micah 6:8. To strive to be good is to strive to be great.
To be good, God says it takes these three things:
- Do justly – to be fair, equitable and right in our dealings with others and ourselves.
- Love mercy – to be compassionate. In Hebrew, the word “hesed” is used over 250 times in the Old Testament to mean “covenant love”, or loyal love. I don’t know about you, but I could use more hesed in my relationships. I could be more covenant loving to my wife, my sons, my friends, my church and ultimately to God. Other examples: Jonathan towards David, Ruth towards Naomi.
- Walk in humility – humbly know any goodness in ourselves doesn’t come from us; it comes from the Lord. Only God is ultimately good.
I pray that in this new year we set some “good” goals for our lives. The world talks about greatness. The slogan of the year was “Make America Great Again” and I’m all for that, but maybe a better slogan is “Make America Good.” I think we should strive to be better people in 2017. Maybe that’s being a good father, husband, mother, wife, good child to your parents, a good boss, a good worker. America needs to be good again!
We may have more bad days than good in 2017. Our goal should be to strive and live out God’s definition of greatness. I pray these three things over your life in 2017. Don’t strive to be great; instead, strive to be good. Not in your own strength, but in the Lord’s.