Doing Good Beyond What We Can Do

How can we do good beyond what we can do? It sounds nonsensical, illogical. It’s not! It’s true, and it’s a truth that can really encourage us!

So often we think there’s so little we can do in a situation. We’d like to help out a loved one, but they aren’t very open to our help. We want to contribute financially to a person, family, or cause, but what we can offer seems so inconsequential. We’d like to come alongside someone in their crisis, but what can we say or do that would really make a difference? And because the something good we could do seems so small we’re tempted to do nothing good at all.

There’s a principle of Jesus’ that can help us out here. He said that God’s unleashing of His good in the world (what He referred to as the kingdom of God) is like a person planting a seed. The farmer plants the seed and may help it along by watering and weeding, but he doesn’t make it grow. As Jesus put it, the seed grows “all by itself.”

In a small garden area near our daughter’s home I built a decorative pond with a few fish next to a palm tree I planted over a dozen years ago. One of the fish is a koi. When I put it in the pond it was about two inches long. When I planted the palm tree it was about three feet tall. Now the koi is about ten inches long and the palm tree must be around twenty-five feet high! I did not “grow” the koi or the palm tree. I just put the koi in the pond and the palm tree in the earth, and with but a little care on my part they grew all by themselves to their current size.

It’s God who has built into koi, palm trees, seeds, and countless other living objects the ability to grow. We just do the small business of planting, feeding, watering, and tending and the growth happens. Jesus would remind us that this is how God wants to work in our lives.

God can use our simple words of encouragement, a small gesture of kindness on our part, or a seemingly woefully inadequate effort by us in a very bad situation to carry out His good. We just need to be God’s person in God’s place to do what little good we can do and leave the rest up to Him. We’re not called by God to do it all, we’re called by God to just do something! God takes our effort and runs with it, helping us do good beyond what we can do!

“This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the fuill kernel in the head.” Mark 4:26-28

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