“Leave Things Better Than You Find Them”

Words by Greg Tinker | Image by Blakeney Clouse

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus….

-Colossians 3:17a, NRSV

“Good works do not make a good man, but a good man does good works.” – Martin Luther

Walker County.

Those two words conjure a multitude of images for those of us who reside here, and especially for those who reside elsewhere. Among some, the name Walker County carries with it a negative connotation.

Jesus was no stranger to disparaging thoughts about His hometown. He hailed from Nazareth, an out-of-the-way hamlet with an ignoble reputation. The question would be asked, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” because apparently not much good ever had.

Even so, that did not deter Jesus from His mission, “He went about doing good…for God was with him” (Acts 10:38b, ESV). Jesus went about doing good, to everyone, everywhere, regardless of what others thought of Him or said about Him.

The key to Jesus’ beneficent disposition? “God was with Him.”

Jesus was determined to honor God in all that He did, which meant, at least in part, leaving things better than He found them. So, everywhere Jesus went, things improved.

What a great example for us. As Jesus’ disciples, we are to emulate Him in the totality of our living. In other words, we are to go about doing good—we are to leave things better than we find them. The good news is, the same God who was with Jesus is also with us, so we have His empowering Spirit to aid us as we seek to do good everywhere we go.

At church we use the acronym G.O.O.D.—God Ordained Ordinary Deeds—as motivation. This means we are always on the lookout to do good things in ordinary ways.

Smile, give someone a hug, compliment them, pay for their meal, help them with a heavy load.

The list is endless, so be creative as you listen to and depend upon God to direct you as you go about doing good, then wherever you are things will improve.

The reality is that things change for the better one person at a time, one act of kindness at a time. Each of us can do this by purposing to “go about doing good,” by genuinely deciding to “leave things better than we find them.”

Let’s be like Jesus. Let’s do this—for the good of Walker County and beyond. WL

A fellow beggar along the Way,

Greg Tinker

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