Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness–Selfless Care for Others
Inside: Inspiration to help the fruit of the Spirit goodness flow through you: to let your day be interrupted, to go the extra mile for someone you don’t know, to look out for the other person over and above yourself. 3 things we can learn from the Good Samaritan.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
~Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
Anyone who knows me well knows that I can hardly stand a change of plans. It doesn’t matter if the change is good: It is change, and it throws me off-kilter.
A friend of mine recently drove cross-country with her oldest son. He had served in Iraq and was making his way back to his military base near Seattle. They planned the trip down to the hour, driving straight through the night so they could stop at just the right time to see the sun rise over the Grand Canyon.
I have been putting myself in that situation and have been wondering: If I had planned that trip down to the minute to make sure I would see the sun rise over such multicolored grandeur,
- Would I be willing to stop by the side of the road to help a person in need?
- What if the person I was traveling with fell ill–would I be patient to stop and let them recover?
- Would I pause long enough to have a pleasant conversation with a clerk at a convenience store along the way?
The fruit of the Spirit of goodness in Galatians 5 involves
- active benevolence,
- a disposition to do all the good we can, and
- selflessly acting on behalf of others.*
(*Pulpit Commentary, Matthew Poole’s Commentary, GotQuestions.org)
Jesus repeatedly and willingly accepted interruptions for the sake of others, healing people on his way to heal others, leaving his intimate time with his disciples and his quiet time with the Father to teach and heal.
I become cross in those situations, but Jesus set his face toward the cross and all that it would mean for you and me.
With incomparable goodness, Jesus faced his coming crucifixion with us in mind:
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.” (John 12:27 ESV)
This is ultimate Holy Spirit goodness: Thinking of others above oneself, even to the point of death.
The Samaritan Who Was Good
Earlier in his ministry, Jesus taught of love, mercy, and goodness in the parable of the Good Samaritan. Portions are printed for you below, and I encourage you to look up Luke 10 in your own Bible. This parable is rich in meaning from many angles, but we are going to focus on the actions of the Samaritan, who was good.
A man had been robbed, stripped, beaten, and left for dead by the side of the road. Picture this with me: This man is naked, bloody, smelly, and moaning in pain, if he even had the strength to moan.
Were we to approach the man, we would be hoping for medical gloves and a large pump bottle of antibacterial gel!
Two religious leaders traveling the same direction not only didn’t stop, but took a wide berth around the fellow, avoiding him entirely. Not the Samaritan, himself despised by the Jews for his nationality:
33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
What can we learn about goodness from this kind Samaritan traveler?
1. Fruit of the Spirit Goodness Involves Compassion
When we allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us, we will have compassion on people in need. Will we
- listen to a coworker who needs to bend our ear?
- stop to help a family stranded on the side of the road?
- spend time with a child who needs some extra attention?
2. Fruit of the Spirit Goodness Involves Extravagant Giving
Did you see it? The Samaritan poured oil and wine on the victim’s wounds: an unexpected use of his costly supplies. On top of that, the Samaritan gave the innkeeper two denarii–two days of wages–to use for the care of the man and told the innkeeper he would reimburse any extra expenses.
Did you notice he didn’t put a limit on what the innkeeper might spend?
Finally, sometimes extravagant giving means doing something messier and harder than writing a check for a good cause. This kindhearted Samaritan hoisted the bloody, beaten man up onto his own animal, not worrying about the filth he may need to clean later. I tried to picture lugging a naked, beaten person into my car to transport them to the hospital. That puts this grace-filled action into perspective!
3. Fruit of the Spirit Goodness Involves Investment of Time
Our good Samaritan interrupted his journey and took care of the man at the inn overnight! Surely, he had obligations to fulfill and people waiting at the end of his trip. Yet he tended to the man overnight, perhaps to make sure the man was stable before he continued on his journey.
Not only that, he promised to return and settle up accounts with the innkeeper on his way back through.
Time. We hold the commodity so closely that we have lost how precious the generous expenditure of it is.
Thank you, Jesus, for loving us with perfect goodness!
How will you let goodness flow through you this week?
Digging Deeper: Letting the Fruit of the Spirit Goodness Flow
Reflect on or journal about the following questions, listening for what God has to say to you about the fruit of the Spirit of goodness.
2. Of the three characteristics of the Good Samaritan–compassion, extravagant giving, and generous investment of time–which is most difficult for you to show? Ask the Holy Spirit to mold your heart to let goodness flow through you!
3. Recall Jesus’ words in John 12:27: “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour” (ESV). What does it mean to you that Jesus selflessly went to the cross for you?
Get Your Worship On!
Let these songs encourage you to see God’s goodness and to consider how you might let the Holy Spirit change you from the inside out.
Good Good Father (Chris Tomlin)
From the Inside Out (Hillsong)
Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies, Chris Tomlin) God intended this song for one of you this week. Is it you?
Digging into God’s Word
If your own Bible is handy, start a few verses before this to capture the full context of this parable. Highlight every instance of the Samaritan’s goodness!
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:29-37 ESV)
Fruit of the Spirit GOODNESS!Print