Tuesday, March 23, 2010

From Good to Great

If you could be “great” in one area of your life, what area would that be? Would you like to be a great spouse? A great parent? Cook? Artist? Student of the Bible? You get the idea . . . . God is, of course, great in everything He does, but there is one thing that, perhaps, stands above the rest. And Psalm 145—which is a wonderful treasure trove of truth from beginning to end—tells us what that is: “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,” David writes (v. 8). This, in and of itself, is a beautiful reality. We often accuse others, especially when we’re younger, that they are “full of it.” Very rarely do we mean that such a person is “full of compassion” when we say this. Yet this is so with God.

But David continues from there, saying that God is “slow to anger.” This immediately sets Him apart from the rest of us! How often are we quick to get angry, quick to lose our tempers, quick to get impatient and feel like we have been personally wronged? If anyone has the “right” to be quick to anger, it would be God. And yet this is not His posture.

But then David comes to the part where He informs us what God is “great” at. He says that God is “great in mercy.” This is where He excels. He is not mediocre or even merely good in mercy. He is great “in mercy.” We might say He has earned His PhD in mercy with distinct honors!

The word for mercy here is one of the most beautiful Hebrew words. It is the word chesed and it not only implies mercy, but an everlasting and eternal love. And, precisely because of this advanced degree in mercy that God has, the next verse tells us that the “Lord is good to all.” He makes no distinctions. He plays no favorites. He has no “teacher’s pets.” He simply extends this grace, mercy, compassion, and love to “all.”

So what does all this tell us about His attitude and posture towards us? Are we not all a part of the “all”? Must we walk around each day with guilt-laden hearts? Or how about this: do we need to fill our days craving acceptance from others when, all along, the only Person that really matters is good to us, He loves us, and He keeps on doing us good?

Just think about it today. Ponder it a little bit as you work, as you play, as you interact with others, as you try to be “great” in whatever you do.

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