Who doesn’t like being described as good? It is a compliment, an acknowledgement of value and worth, something to our credit, a source of pride.
As a young woman, I found accepting compliments awkward and would find myself dismissing or explaining them away till it was pointed out to me that the proper or “polite” response is a simple thank you.
With the passing of time, I began to find myself feeling awkward again; saying “thank you” did not feel right. There was disquiet in my soul. You see, I felt convicted after reading James 4:17, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
It’s the last verse of the chapter where we’re counseled about our heart, behaviors, thinking, pride, and how quick we are to rejoice and boast in our own desires, accomplishments, and selves.
I remember reading it, realizing that doing or choosing “good” requires me to look and judge my choices on a daily basis. My obedience is not optional. If I know to do it and don’t; it is sin.
In Matthew 19:17, Luke 18:19, and Mark 10:18, we read about a young man. He is referred to as the “rich young ruler.” Mark’s gospel says he kneels before the Lord calling him Good Master. Jesus replies, “Why callest thou me good, there is none good but one, that is, God.” He knelt before Jesus, but did he really understand he was talking to Emmanuel, God incarnate?
There is much said about being “good” in Moroni 7.
Verse 12 “all things which are good, cometh from God.”
Verse 13, “But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.”
Verse 16, “For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil;” and “wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.”
The young man wanted something and thought he had been good enough, proud that he had kept the law since he was a boy. But it wasn’t enough, and Jesus reveals to him what he lacks and he leaves sorrowing (Matthew 19:22), choosing not to heed Jesus’ loving instruction and command to “come and follow me.”
I have nothing to boast of; any good found in me comes by way of Christ’s spirit living in me, calling me to do His will and my willingness to say “yes” and living out the call found in Matthew 5:16. My good works, if any, are never about me; they are always about Him. Because I know this, my response should be “thank God” instead of “thank you.”
Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.