The Good Life. We all want it. Knowing this, advertisers barrage us with images of all the things the good life might entail: luxury, beauty, entertainment. These are not bad things in and of themselves, but we know that the “good life” has to include more. Entertainment without connection is pointless. Beauty without character is vain. Luxury without meaning is empty. The good life is richer than that—a good life possesses depth and significance. It leaves an example and legacy of goodness for others. Ultimately, a good life receives benefit from outside itself, and extends blessing beyond itself.
Melody Beattie once said: “Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” My hope is that your heart will expand with gratitude and hope, as you learn to name and give thanks for all the good things God has given you already!
Week 1 (October 20) Every Good and Perfect Thing
What does it mean when we say something is “good.” As Christians, we understand the goodness of creation comes from its Creator. God is good, and everything God creates is good. So when we say something is “good,” we are saying it reflects what God intended for it - that it brings joy and peace and wholeness to the world. Our pursuit of a good life begins by recognizing we serve a good Creator. One who created all things good. One who works in all things for the good of those who love him. So the challenge for us is to see the good in all times and places and people. Where do we each locate goodness in our own lives?
Week 2 (October 27) The Trap of “More”
If a little bit is good, then more is even better, right? Yet that isn’t how it works—often the more “good” we cram into our lives, the easier it is to lose out on the goodness. We all have a tough time recognizing when we have “enough.” There are all kinds of experts now—like that Japanese lady, or before her the “Hoarders” show—that are trying to help people live with less. Because less is more. The sneaky truth about having too much is that it makes our lives cluttered. When we are overwhelmed with stuff (on our calendars, on our plates, in our closets), we don’t enjoy them. It’s just too much. The challenge for all of us is to recognize where we have more than enough. How do we recognize where the “enough” line is, and start saying “no” to anything more.
Week 3 (November 3) Good Versus Great
We all want to be great, but sometimes our pursuit of the “great” ends up costing us the “good.” Not that they are mutually exclusive, but neither are they the same thing (or “great” an extension or increase of “good”). As Jesus said, we can sometimes gain the whole world (become great) but lose our souls (what connects us to the “good”). We all feel a pressure to be perfect. While none of us wants to “mess up,” the pursuit of perfection can become a treadmill that keeps going up and up and up. We never can finish doing “enough.” Yet, this is not what God wants for us. He sent his son to be our atonement, his sacrifice is more than enough. It is actually when we release the need to be great or perfect that we discover how good God’s love and grace is.
Week 4 (November 10) Do All the Good You Can
God has set us free from the need to constantly do more. We are saved from sin, but we are also saved for something. We are saved for a life of good works. We are saved from a relentless and ultimately empty pursuit, so that we can live a good life of giving blessing to others. So the challenge for us is to seek to bring goodness/value to everything you do, every word you say. The goal is to stay connected to the goodness of God in every word, deed, and thought.
Week 5 (November 17) Grateful For All the Good
Because we trust in God’s goodness and provision, we are free to return to God our thanks, hoping and praying that God will multiply our goods to create good things in our community and our world. Stewardship and giving are not the way we earn God’s blessing. God has already given blessing. Pledging is just our way of gratefully responding to God’s gracious activity in our life. We have received, let us freely and wholeheartedly respond. So rather than starting with how much do I have to give, start with how much we’ve received and give as your heart responds to God’s grace.
For the next month, you are invited on a “Goodness Journey”—complete with a journal, representing your map for that journey. Each day you’ll read a short devotion—some will invite you to listen to a song or go for a walk; some will prompt you to perform a small act of kindness for someone else. Each will close with a single question, asking you where you’ve seen God’s love and goodness at work that day.
We invite everyone to follow along together through this series. You can access a digital version below or pick up a printed version in the lobby outside the sanctuary. The lessons don’t build on one another so you can jump in at any time.
Please feel free to use the image(s) below to download and share on your personal social media. You can use the image as a means to promote the series or as an invitation for people to join you!