The greater good - Hope 103.2

The greater good

By David ReayTuesday 12 Dec 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Luke 4:40-44

40-41 Then, as the sun was setting, all those who had friends suffering from every kind of disease brought them to Jesus and he laid his hands on each one of them separately and healed them. Evil spirits came out of many of these people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he spoke sharply to them and would not allow them to say any more, for they knew perfectly well that he was Christ.

42-43 At daybreak, he went off to a deserted place, but the crowds tried to find him and when they did discover him, tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he told them, “I must tell the good news of the kingdom of God to other towns as well—that is my mission.”

44 And he continued proclaiming his message in the synagogues of Judea. (JBP)

We are confronted constantly with the opportunity to do good things. What we need to discover is how to identify the best things amongst those good things. Charities beg for our money, churches want our practical service, friends and families have pressing needs. Deep down we realise we can’t do everything, can’t meet every need or do every good thing.

Jesus gives us an example of this. He is swamped by people in genuine need. He has the power to cast out evil spirits and heal people. There is virtually no limit to the good he can do. But what does he do? He goes off and leaves the desperate crowds in order to be alone. We can assume it was not just solitude he sought but also time with his Father.

He sought out God in order to align his heart and will with God. He sought out God to confirm he was marching to God’s drumbeat not merely marching to the beat of others’ expectations. He sought out God to reaffirm his priorities, to sort out the truly important from the merely urgent.

Prayer is at the same time withdrawal and engagement, retreat and advance. We take time to be alone with God, not out of dislike of others but out of concern that we best minister to others. We take time to rest not because we are lazy but because we need energy to do the works God has given us to do. Amongst all the really good things we can do, we seek God to discern the greater good.

David Reay