Good worth fighting for...

Today's thought:

1 Peter 3:13-14, "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed."Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened."

1 Peter 3:17, "For it is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil."

To suffer for doing good, to fight for what is right, to believe there is good worth fighting for, this is the noble call of God for His children. 

The film, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, is about the future of peace on Middle-Earth. This peace is dependent upon the destruction of a ring, entrusted to the hand of a hobbit, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood). The ring, forged by the Dark Lord Sauron, and filled with all his power and malice, slowly corrupts its wearer to do his will. All of the world is being plunged into war, and the only way of stopping Sauron and his army, is the perilous quest of taking the ring past the enemy and casting it into the fires of Mount Doom.

Hobbits are unobtrusive, peaceful, and unadventurous by nature. But both Frodo and his friend Sam Gamgee (Sean Astin) find themselves on a dangerous journey to save Middle-Earth. On their way to the treacherous slopes of Mount Doom, far from their home in the Shire, they are famished, exhausted, and Frodo shows more and more of the strain of bearing the ring.

Frodo says, "I can't do this, Sam."

Sam replies, "I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are.

"It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened.

"But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer.

"Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now: Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back; only they didn't. Because they were holding on to something."

Frodo asks, "What are we holding on to, Sam?"

Sam replies, "That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for." [The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (New Line Cinema, 2002), based on novel by J. R. Tolkien, directed by Peter Jackson]

We are called to fight for the good. We are to struggle to see it done and not fear the consequences. When we accomplish whatever good God has called us to do, we show our Great Example, Jesus Christ, who fought like a Lion to Calvary and like a Lamb laid down his life to achieve the greatest good mankind had ever known—redemption. As long as that good remains with us we cannot help but be lovers and doers of any good we can. We find it in loving the unlovable. We find it in standing upon moral principle. We find it in helping our neighbor. We find it in feeding the hungry. We find it in hugging the smelly. We find it in adopting the orphan. We find it holding the hand of the sick and dying, the old and neglected. God is good, and wherever we find good we do it with love and passion for the love and passion of our good God.

Prayer: Our Good God, when we see good we see a chance to show You to the world. Your lovingkindness, Your matchless goodness, overflows our hearts. Help us to see the good we can do today and do it while we can. As in all we do, we will do the good in the name of Jesus Christ, in whom we pray, amen.

Suffering for good...

Today’s Thought:

1 Peter 3:13-17, “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”

What does this look like?

In his book, Everyday Evangelism (IVP, pp. 21-22), Tom Eisenman tells a moving story that shows that we all can be effective witnesses in this hostile world if we will combine good deeds with verbal witness in submission to Christ’s lordship. David, a ninth grade boy in their youth program, was big for his age and very tough, but he had a heart for Jesus. In school he was making a coffee table for his mother as a Christmas gift. He finished it a few days before Christmas and left it in the shop so he wouldn’t have to take it home and hide it. On the last day of school before vacation David went to pick up his table. He was shocked to find that someone had stolen it.

David had a lot of friends. It didn’t take him long to find out who took his table. It was a younger boy who was unpopular and frail. David easily could have beat him up. Instead, he spent his entire Christmas vacation in the shop at school making a duplicate table. When he had it finished, he went to the other boy’s house. When the younger boy opened the door and saw David standing there, he was petrified. David just said, “I have something I’d like to give you and your family for Christmas.” He handed him the new table.

The younger boy burst into tears. He went into the house and came back with David’s first table. The boys talked. The younger boy asked forgiveness, and David granted it. Within a few weeks the younger boy was attending the youth program at the church and eventually he became a Christian.

Would you examine your own life? Are you zealous for good deeds, even when you’re mistreated? Are you able to give a gentle defense of the gospel? Do you fear the Lord Christ above everyone else? If not, make the necessary adjustments. Then God will use you mightily as His witness in this hostile world.

Prayer: Father, you ask us to follow the great example of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Would You give us strength and the proper perspective to do that? We thank you that Jesus, the righteous, died for us, the unrighteous. It is through His grace and mercy and by His example we pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.