Good enough?

Discussion in 'Scriptural Thoughts' started by miker, Aug 5, 2022.

  1. miker

    miker Powers

    I wanted to share what a thought provoking and reflective post …. Yes, I do want to be great. I think though it’s not through any effort of my own that this is achieved but more through the gift of grace and being born again as Jesus told Nicodemus. This “old man” must die as we all do in our baptism and then the “new man” rises in the spirit of Jesus Christ. Of course, as a disciple. I must then be willing to take up my cross. And follow after Him.

    anyhow….. thought you might enjoy and reflect upon these words.


    Is Good, Good Enough?
    By Fr. Steve Ryan, SDB

    He’s basically a good man. She’s basically a good woman. Okay – great. That’s the minimal ordinary standard of a civilized person, a baptized Christian and a novice disciple. It’s not the ultimate achievement or final product for a person of faith. We Christians ought to aim higher – to holiness. Jesus in the gospels always challenges us to be more than simply good. God is calling us to be great men and women.

    This is clearly demonstrated in Matthew 19:16-30. It’s the story of the rich young man and it goes like this:

    Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

    Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

    Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.

    The young man comes up to Our Lord and asks, “How good must I be to gain eternal life?” Jesus says, “You ask me about good, huh? Okay, to be good, keep the commandments.” Then Jesus goes on to list most of them. The man proudly says that he has been keeping the commandments. Using our imagination a bit, Christ may have ended by telling the young man, “Son, that’s a good beginning but what you described is the MINIMAL standard!” Jesus is saying – this is enough to get started but you are far from done.

    Unfortunately, most of us seem to be happy with that – being good. As long as we are living up to the minimal expectation, we are content. We even brag about it. “I don’t steal.” “I don’t cheat.” “I pray a bit.” “I don’t lie much.” Basically, we tell the Lord – I’m trying! I’m hanging in there.

    Notice that the conversation between Jesus and the man in Matthew’s Gospel goes quiet for a moment and that Christ waits to see if the young fellow is willing to aspire to a higher level of living his faith life. As he looks upon the young man with love, he is indicating to him, “That’s a good start young man, but are you interested in the better than good? What about being great? About being the best you can be?”

    The rich young man in fact was curious. He was curious about going further. He thought to himself, “What if I really wanted to be great? What if I really wanted to be something special before God and others in this world? Impulsively he asks a question, “Heh, Jesus, I think I might want to be great (I really want to shine for God), so what else must I do?”

    In the young man’s case it was possessions that were holding him back from greatness. However, in our cases it may be something else. What could it be? Anger? Lust? Pride? Unforgiveness? Jealousy? No matter – going from good to great entails surrender! “Give it all to me” is what Jesus is saying to us.

    Greatness = surrendering our lives to God.

    One interpretation of this gospel could very well be: don’t settle for mediocrity. Therefore, we must “Let go and let God”.

    Are you curious about going further?
    • I want to be better than minimal
    • I want to be outstanding
    • I want to be holy
    • I want to be a saint
    • I want to shine
    • I want to be on fire
    Don’t be afraid. Let’s listen to Jesus’ invitation to set the bar higher. Say it: “I want to be great.” “I want to be deep.” “I want to be more!” “I surrender all to you.

    Excelsior!
     
  2. Frankly

    Frankly Principalities

    Excellent post! Thank you!

    This above (abridged) portion of Scriptures is the prelude to The Good Samaritan..
    which zeros in on how we get to Heaven and what we'll face at Judgement..

    This is also mirrored when our Lord speaks of Judgement Day in other portions of Scriptures.
    It is so important with Understandings that I feel moved to post the entire scene in fuller context.

    The Good Samaritan --- (Luke 10: 25-37)

    ON ONE OCCASION a lawyer came forward to put this test question to him: 'Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?' ... Jesus said, 'What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?' [ Dt.6.5. ] ... He replied, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.' ... 'That is the right answer,' said Jesus; 'do that and you will live.'

    But he wanted to vindicate himself, so he said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbour?'

    Jesus replied, 'A man was on his way from Jerusalem down to Jericho when he fell in with robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went off leaving him half dead. . It so happened that a priest was going down by the same road; but when he saw him, he went past on the other side. . So too a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him went past on the other side. .. But a Samaritan who was making the journey came upon him, and when he saw him was moved to pity. ... He went up and bandaged his wounds, bathing them with oil and wine. Then he lifted him on to his own beast, brought him to an inn, and looked after him there. .. Next day he produced two silver pieces and gave them to the innkeeper, and said, "Look after him; and if you spend any more, I will repay you on my way back." ... Which of these three do you think was neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?'

    He answered, 'The one who showed him kindness.'

    Jesus said, 'Go and do as he did.'

    ------------------------------------------------

    I have some comments re: the above.. and first, I'm interested in some others...?

    +
     
  3. Lois

    Lois Principalities

    My thoughts on all this run along the lines of it's all good until you try to surrender everything to Him. That's when the real blows start to hit the mark, then anger and pride swoop in if you don't let go & offer up the hits, if you will. There can be great suffering in this "letting go" , and we have been conditioned to believe that suffering is "bad", as opposed to joining that suffering to His own.

    What I love about the story of the Good Samaritan is that he lives in the "here and now". He helps the poor man out and sets him up with care, and moves on to his other tasks, returning to square things with the innkeeper if what was provided was not enough.

    All the talk about everyone being called to be "missionary disciples" really gets my goat. It's the same idea as "imposed" or "coerced" uniformity...Some are called to this task, but not all. If one thinks a person converts due to their own efforts, that is a form of pride, as it's God's grace working in that person that leads to conversion. It's a very easy trap to fall into these days....Nothing is possible without God's grace, and we each have our own individual mission which requires cooperation with that grace. We are, none of us, capable of doing anything on our own....That final act of surrendering our own will to Him, imho, is the most difficult part of what we are called to, because not very many truly understand what grace is, let alone co-operating with grace to God's glory, and not our own self satisfaction......
     
  4. Mario

    Mario Powers


    Well said, Lois!
     
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  5. Frankly

    Frankly Principalities

    Yes.. And it is in actions such as that - that we Obey God's 2 Great Commands which allows us entrance into Heaven. Love God, Love Neighbor.
    Via loving neighbor (whom we see) we show/reveal/prove our Love for God who is Love - whom we don't see.

    Note how two important members of Jesus' 'religion' - a Jewish priest and Levite - both pass up that man in need..
    Note too how a Samaritan - who is not a member of Jesus' "religion" - is the one whom by being Obedient to God Commands - inherits Eternal Life..

    There is more which can be said about that Parable teaching - which are mirrored within Jesus' teachings on Judgement Day, and Paul's teachings on Faith, Hope and Charity..
    +
     
  6. miker

    miker Powers

    I actually went to Luke 14:26 when meditating upon the words of Fr. Steve:

    If any one comes to me without hating his father* and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms.
    In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple


    I think to me this is very powerful. What does Christ mean “hate” your mother, father, sister, brother, etc? To me it means don’t let anyone or a thing take precedent or become an idol that prevents you from placing God first in your life. If you want to be a true follower of Christ, as was said by many above here, we can’t do it on our own. It’s impossible. We can only do it by being a true follower of Christ’s- taking His spirit within us. When we are baptized - we actual die in the old spirit- the old “man” and we arise as a “Christian” with the spirit of the resurrected Christ. But since most of us were baptized as infants- what does it really mean? I think it only can be manifested as we get older and then make the real choice to be a Christian - not just in mane- but as a course of our life in action. And to be a Christian we need to follow our leader and accept the Cross in our life. And not begrudgingly but like Christ / to kiss it and to love it because we know it’s the means of our salvation.

    And I think this reading from Luke provides a sobering warning. Don’t say yes I wast to follow Christ until you know the cost and willing accept that. Because if you don’t, as Luke writes, your “tower” will not be built.

    Sorry for “pontificating”. Lol. I really enjoy these types of sharing and reflections. Peace.
     
  7. Lois

    Lois Principalities


    In my opinion, you really nailed it down here. There's so much emphasis on "leadership" now. You can take a course and suddenly YOU are a leader!!! Baloney!! We already have a Leader/Teacher - we need examples to follow, such as the saints or martyrs or a good holy priest or bishop; true and worthy disciples (aka followers) of the Lord.
     
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  8. RoryRory

    RoryRory Perseverance

    Excellent
     
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  9. Frankly

    Frankly Principalities

    The Parable of the Good Samaritan shows Jesus' Teaching on how to inherit Eternal Life by Obeying God's Two Great Commands of Love: God and Neighbor

    Connected, In Matthew Chapter 25 - Jesus Gives Great Insight into how He'll JUDGE people: Into Heaven OR Hell.

    It ORBITS around Love of Neighbor in Action! And it could seem counter-intuitive to many.... This following shouldn't be too difficult to
    read..

    The Judgment of the Nations by God/Jesus

    31'When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, he will sit in state on his throne, 32with all the nations gathered before him. He will separate men into two groups, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.

    34Then the king will say to those on his right hand, "You have my Father's blessing; come, enter and possess the kingdom that has been ready for you since the world was made. 35For when I was hungry, you gave me food; when thirsty, you gave me drink; when I was a stranger you took me into your home, 36when naked you clothed me; when I was ill you came to my help, when in prison you visited me."

    37Then the righteous will reply, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and fed you, or thirsty and gave you drink, 38a stranger and took you home, or naked and clothed you? 39When did we see you ill or in prison, and come to visit you?"

    40And the king will answer, "I tell you this: anything you did for one of my brothers here, however humble, you did for me."

    41Then he will say to those on his left hand, "The curse is upon you; go from my sight to the eternal fire that is ready for the devil and his angels. 42For when I was hungry you gave me nothing to eat, when thirsty nothing to drink; 43when I was a stranger you gave me no home, when naked you did not clothe me; when I was ill and in prison you did not come to my help."

    44And they too will reply, "Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and did nothing for you?"

    45And he will answer, "I tell you this: anything you did not do for one of these, however humble, you did not do for me." 46And they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous will enter eternal life.'
     

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