Goodness gracious: One word still works, even after 720 uses

Voices of Religion

Posted: Friday, September 30, 2005

The school year is well under way and going well. We can applaud the efforts of both staff and students for a job well done. A lot of progress in learning important lessons will be gained.

Speaking of lessons, I once walked by the school office and heard the secretary ask a young fellow if he was sure about his paper. He was supposed to illustrate the water cycle. He had drawn a picture of someone riding a jet ski. No wonder she asked him, “Are you sure this is the water cycle?”

I remember one lesson in composition was to have the students substitute other words in place of the overused adjective, good. Instead of describing things or events as good, they had to use another word like great, excellent, exciting, etc., in the sentence.

A look at some titles in church songbooks seems to show that songwriters have learned that lesson. Words like wonderful, amazing, marvelous, awesome and others are used to describe the Lord and our relationship to him. Rightly so, for all the superlatives and fine adjectives in every language fall short of adequately describing the blessings that God can give in abundance.

A young bride was asked to testify at a church service. The nervous newlywed stood and quoted Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. She then said, “I thank God for my husband, he is one of those no good things.” Well, we know what she meant.

It is interesting that the Bible uses the word good to describe God’s assessment of his creative work. “God saw that it was good” appears several times in the scriptural account. In fact, when he surveyed all that he had created, the Genesis record said, “it was very good.”

The word good appears 720 times in the King James Version. Jesus used the word many times in the gospels. He spoke of good and faithful servants. He explained that the word of the kingdom was good seed. He encouraged his disciples to “Be of good cheer.”

In Luke 11, Jesus used fathers and their desire to give good things to their children as a basis for a lesson. He mentioned a son asking for bread, fish or an egg. He stated the father would not respond to those requests with a stone, serpent, or scorpion. He went on to say, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13). His indwelling Spirit was the focus of what can be given by the Father to his children.

The Bible says that every gift that is good and perfect comes down from the Father who is light and doesn’t change. The promise of his Spirit is to everyone and every generation (Acts 2:38-39). That is a good thing.

Mitch Glover is the pastor of the Sterling United Pentecostal Church at Swanson River Road and Entrada. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. and worship is at 11 a.m.

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