On the morning of my seventh birthday, I crept up stairs and was delighted when I saw a bright yellow bike in the middle of the living room floor. For days afterwards, dad and I would take the bike over to the schoolyard next door, and he would run along beside me as I learned to ride my four wheeled bike. There was no chance I would fall, but I wanted him to share in my excitement.
Not all of my future rides were at the school, nor was dad always running along beside me. However, when it came time for him to take my training wheels off, there he was, back at the school, holding on to me and my bike as I tottered back and forth, working on gaining my balance. As I gained speed and confidence, dad would let go of my handle bars and all would be well until I had to slow down at the end of the gravel field, totter again and either crash or get caught by my dad’s waiting arms.
Years later at camp, I decided to learn archery and, like the other campers with me, try to hit the bulls-eye and be rewarded with a can of Coke. As I was learning, my councillor stood behind me, holding the bow and string along with me so that I would know the right technique. As we pulled the string back, I was concerned that I would elbow him in the face, but when we both let go of the arrow, I was amazed how fast that arrow flew. Though it never hit the bulls-eye, at least it hit the large Styrofoam target!
Nobody needed to remind me how to ride a bike because I loved it so much. However, after a year without shooting arrows, I went back to camp and needed to learn the basics of archery all over again.
As Jesus said in Mark 10 “No one is good—except God alone.” If we repeat this fact to ourselves enough, and see examples of his goodness, like bike riding, soon enough we will understand this to be true and not need anyone to remind us. However, if we look for something else to believe in rather than God, we will also find something else that is not Good. And if we only love God in the summer time, forgetting about Him when school starts up again, like my experience with archery, we will never become good at this art.
Is loving God an art you want to perfect? Or are you satisfied with bumping into Him annually at summer camp, at a Christmas and Easter service, or at weddings and funerals? Because if God is not what makes you Good, you are left with nothing.
Many years ago I read an article in the Atlantic Monthly that asked the question of human society, "Can we be good without God? Interestingly, as this is not a "Christian magazine" so far as I know, the answer was, "Yes, but only for a little while."
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