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The Art of Stamping: God of Goodness

Not only does goodness describe God's character, but it also describes His work. So how can we bring expression to God’s goodness through our roles serving behind the scenes in church life?

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The Art of Stamping: God of Goodness

Not only does goodness describe God's character, but it also describes His work. So how can we bring expression to God’s goodness through our roles serving behind the scenes in church life?

The Art of Stamping: God of Goodness

Not only does goodness describe God's character, but it also describes His work. So how can we bring expression to God’s goodness through our roles serving behind the scenes in church life?

The Art of Stamping: God of Goodness

The big idea for this blog series is that when we fulfil our role behind the scenes in the church office, we are placing the stamp of God’s character on the operations, and administration of the church. Today I want to focus on the attribute of God’s goodness which we see expressed through mercy and kindness. 

My earliest memory of learning about God’s goodness was from Sunday school. My parents were both Christians and I grew up attending our local church. We had a chant in our Sunday school which would happen frequently throughout the morning. Our Sunday school teachers would shout out “God is good”, we would return the chant with “all the time”. We would go back and forth to see who was the loudest- of course the children always were! It was great fun and I loved it. I grew up knowing that God was both great and good. And now as an adult, I enjoy many hymns and songs which declare that God is good, full of mercy and kindness.  

So where do we start when we consider God’s goodness? God is both the definition and standard of goodness; His nature is fully good, and His goodness is expressed by His mercy and kindness. Not only does goodness describe His character, but it also describes His work. God is good and everything that He has made is good. Psalm 145 vs 90 (ESV) says “The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made”. Try and picture with me a God who is continuously active and seeking the welfare of everything that He has made. It’s hard for us to get our heads around it because God is so Holy, He is so different to us. He is magnificent in His nature and glory. God’s disposition is to show kindness and mercy to all He has made, including you and me! It is just incredible! 

Jesus is the greatest example of both the character and the work of God’s goodness. He perfectly displayed what it means to show kindness and goodness. As we read the gospels, it doesn’t take long before we encounter Jesus having an awareness and compassion for people, and the desire to meet both their physical and spiritual needs. I love the fact that Jesus is continuously active in extending mercy and kindness, not just to those who we might consider to be kind, not just to those who we consider deserving, but to the most unlikely. In Luke 6 we see Jesus teaching that God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. There are many references in scripture where Jesus shows goodness and kindness to the undeserving, the lost, the hopeless, the broken and the rebellious, without any distinction. He came for the lost, for the broken. He extended kindness and goodness to those whom society had shunned. God, through His word, calls us to be like Christ and to follow His example by being kind and doing good works.  

Ephesians 2 vs 10 (ESV) “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

In Ephesians 2 vs 10 (ESV), Paul writes “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. The first thing I notice about this passage, and can’t help but get excited about, is the amazing truth that we are in Christ. What does it mean to be in Christ?  In verses 1-9, Paul makes it clear that we were totally dead, completely helpless before we were called to life, called out of darkness into the light of Christ. He goes on to explain that our salvation isn’t because of us, our works or our performance, but only and solely because of Christ. Paul states that it’s God who calls us and it’s God who gives us the gift of faith. Salvation is all from Him, through Him, and in Him, so that nobody can boast. What does it mean to be in Christ? It means that we are His and He is ours. It means that our salvation is secure. It means that it is all His works on our behalf. It means we can rest in Him and trust in Him. It means we are free from striving. It means we have unity, acceptance, and assurance. It means He is with us, in us and for us. It means we can trust in His plan and all that He has called us to because we are in Him! What good news! What a staggering salvation! Goodness delivered in full.

The second observation from the text is that God has called us to good works. I know many Christians who have spent seasons trying to work out their purpose, asking themselves “What has Christ called me to do?”. Well, maybe I look at it too simplistically, but scripture says He has called us to good works. The crazy thing that blows my mind as I read this text is that He has already lined up the good works in advance, they are there, ready and waiting for me to complete. Get your head around that! I don’t need to worry about my purpose or what God has called me to do because it is already there ready for me. I just need to seek Him, trust Him, know my salvation in Him is secure and do the next thing, the next good work. He has called me to good works and He is a God of good works. So, let us rejoice again and enjoy that we are the recipients of the greatest good work of all time, Christ freely laid down His life for us. He laid down His life that we might know life, joy and peace. We are also the workmen called to deliver the planned good works on God’s behalf. As we participate in good works, let us point people to the great work, the work of Christ on the cross. Let’s share the gospel with those around us.  

Walking

The third observation from Ephesians is the word ‘walk’, why does Paul use this word here? What does it mean to walk in good works? I think he uses it because walking is an everyday activity, a daily task, a regular and normal thing to do. Good works should be an everyday activity. My tendency is to think of good works as big statements, big headlines, extraordinary activities, maybe a mission trip to Africa for example. But the good works that Paul is calling us to is the everyday good works. The normal, routine, ordinary, everyday, above and beyond good works. What does this mean? It means living with a greater awareness of the people that God has placed in our lives around us. The members of our church, the visitors, our neighbours, our family and friends. Not only is walking a daily activity but it’s an action. You have to get going physically. Walking gets you from A to B, it’s moving, it’s active. It’s the same with good works. Good works are an action. It’s not enough to just have the idea, we need to take it to the next stage and put into place some action points to serve those around us in multiple ways.  

How can we bring expression to God’s goodness through our roles serving behind the scenes in church life? How can we bring this attribute to action? We can bring it by applying it in our everyday interactions. We must make the most of every opportunity with whoever comes into our workplaces, churches and homes. This week we have had a lift installed into our building with two builders working on site for a number of days. As I think about the application of God’s goodness, I want to consider how we serve these men. How can we extend kindness? We want to recognise that God has chosen these men to install the lift at our church. This has all been arranged by God before it happened. One of the church receptionists, Norma, shares my same passion and for the next couple of days we took the time to talk with the builders, make them teas and coffees and took an interest in their lives. I loved Norma’s example and desire to do good works. At the end of the week, one of the builders approached me in my office to share that they have never worked at a kinder building in all of their 20-year career. The friendliness of staff, the willingness to offer support, the encouragement and gratitude shown to them, blew them away. That is gospel work, that is what Paul is encouraging us to do. It impacts people’s lives. It is hard to forget an act of kindness. It is so easy to be focused on the tasks at hand and our to-do list and not see the people we interact with, or the people we are working alongside. Let’s raise our eyes up to see Him firstly, and then look around and see who He has placed in our lives- our colleagues, the volunteers, the members of church, the visitors, the contractors, our neighbours, our family, our friends. We are called to good works in all that we do in our everyday life. Everyone we come across, every interaction and moment is filled with opportunities to show goodness, mercy and kindness to those whom God has placed in our lives. This is how we can express God’s goodness and stamp it in our lives and in our roles behind the scenes in church life.  

Let’s get stamping, stamping the character of God on the operations and on the administration of the church as we think about the God of goodness.

 

 

 

Gavin Smith
Gavin Smith
Gavin serves as the Church Administrator for Christchurch, Newport, a role he has been in for the last 17 years. He is passionate about the gospel and strengthening the church by supporting the work that happens behind the scenes.

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