Summary: Based upon the book "Three Simple Rules" "A Wesley Way of Living" by Rueben P. Job. This is the Sixth in the "Three Simple Rules" series. This is the most essential of the three rules.
“Stay in Love With God” Part 1
“Do Good”… conclusion.
This week, we conclude our lesson about “doing good” and begin exploring what it means to “Stay in Love with God.”
We’ve spent quite a bit of time investigating what it means to do no harm and to do good. I believe we can all say the challenge issued by God, and echoed by John Wesley. Just so we don’t think John made up the part about doing good… here are just a few of God’s references to “do good.”
18 Do what is right and good in the LORD’s sight, so that it may go well with you and you may go in and take over the good land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers, 19 thrusting out all your enemies before you, as the LORD said. Dt 6:18-19
14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Ps 34:14
3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:3-4
27 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. Ps 37:27-28
12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. 13 That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. Ec 3:12-13
27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you Lk 6:27
This is hard work!
19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Ro 7:19
We need never give up!
10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph 2:9-10
Can we all agree that our culture today teaches each of us the we….me, myself and I are the most important person in the world, and so, I must take care of me FIRST! Remember the “I want it all and I want it now” advertisements.
Never mind the needs of others, let’s take care of ourselves first! Let’s take a hard honest look at our culture today. We’ve seen corporate executives rob shareholders and force employees into poverty. We live in a climate where which it’s easy to turn away from the social and economic injustice that does immense harm to many and provides rich benefits to few. We live in a culture tending to be destructive to the very self worth and dignity of every child of God.
If I’m honest, I have to admit that at times, I have contributed to a competitive culture that encourages greed and selfishness and discourages compassion, sharing, fairness, and commitment to the common good. How about you … honestly? It appears to me, we live in a culture in which anything goes as long as it is to my personal advantage…. And I don’t get caught!
Do you really believe the purpose of this campaign is for our well being? Of course not. This mentality, this cultural teaching… that bombards us through all kinds of media isn’t about our well being, it’s about marketing some new product. It’s about getting into our pocket books, it’s all about money! Don’t misunderstand. We still live in the greatest country in the world. Without a doubt! But don’t you think that as God has blessed this country with such grace we should be doing a better job of “Doing Good?” Thinking about the good others, the good of the community, the good of the world before we think of what’s best for us?
Now, all that being said, we need to understand that taking care of self and living selflessly are not opposites. Instead, both are essential elements of a healthy and productive life.
To love God with all life and to love neighbor as self does not mean to put down, deny, or devalue self. Instead taking appropriate care of self is to proclaim the heart of our theology as Christians and to place enormous value on self and on neighbor. God loves each of us very much and we love our neighbor as ourselves we are living in God’s will and we choose to live in the reign of God NOW. God continually invites us, woos us if you will, to live as a citizen of a new order in which God’s love for all creation is recognized and proclaimed in word….and deed.
Nowhere does God suggest that living in this new way, a way foreign to today’s culture, is to mean that self care is unimportant or unnecessary. Loving oneself demands caring for oneself in a culture and systems that are often destructive to self.