Before you head off to your weekend, here are three things that caught my attention this week.
“All of us want to do well. But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.
Quote by Annie Dillard”
How are you?
I’m good or I’m well…how do you answer?
Seems like there has been a move away from responding with “I’m good” to “I’m well”. And I get the reason(s). Saying you are good seems like bragging doesn’t it!?
My response is usually “I’m good” when asked. Old habits die hard I’m afraid.
Doing well…is an internal and definable metric. Doing good…seems to be an external and subjective measure. A person described as being “well off” is considered wealthy in some manner. But that is different than being described as being “good.” These terms are not antonyms but they are distinct from one another. One way to think of doing well is succeeding in life’s things while doing good is succeeding in life’s relationships. You can be well off and not do good and you also can do good and not be well off. And I know people who most definitely are both.
The Dillard quote above makes the statement that doing good undergirds purpose in life and doing well may be a means but it is never the end.
It all gets down to our focus. What is our priority? To do well in life or to do good? To accumulate accolades or to give generously?
Speaking of focusing on good. The article above tells the story of David Swenson who gave up a lucrative career on Wall Street and instead ended up shaping how radically improving how college endowments are managed. While I pause at saying the head of Yale’s Endowment wasn’t paid well, I am simply saying that by comparison to his counterparts on Wall Street he could have made a lot more money. His story exemplifies a life that went from a focus on doing well to doing good. The good will be experienced by a generation, or more, of students. And as these students leave school and make their impact on the world at large the good keeps growing.
Near the end of his nine year struggle with cancer, David’s colleagues encouraged him to retire, enjoy life and work on his bucket list. Mr. Swensen replied that his bucket list was to continue the good work that he had been doing over the past 35 years. I dare say, not a job, but a calling is the apt way to describe his work.
Post-Christianity is not pre-Christianity; rather post-Christianity attempts to move beyond Christianity, whilst simultaneously feasting upon its fruit.
from Disappearing Church by Mark Sayers
Post-Christianity wants the kingdom without the king. All the trappings of the abundant life without the oversight, accountability, or boundaries.
For Christians, we know this is a problem. For you can not have the kingdom of God without the lordship of Christ. The benefits of heaven are realized in a relationship with God and your neighbors. All other avenues lead to somewhere else. There is no kingdom without the king.
I’ll leave you with this quote from David Brooks’ book Bobos in Paradise:
“You can’t really know God if you ignore his laws, especially the ones that regulate the most intimate spheres of life. You may be responsible and healthy, but you will also be shallow and inconsequential.”
Or maybe put another way –
Without the King you might be well…but you cannot be good.