Psalm 16:2 - I say to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good apart from You."
"I'm sorry," I said.
"It's all good," came the response. But it really wasn't, was it? If it was all good, why apologize? If it was bad, surely more was needed than a casual "It's all good" response. Goodness, peace, harmony, love, joy -- today, many of us have kind of reduced these powerful words to generic statements that often times miss the point. And I think that's what our Psalm is speaking about today.
Say it with me, "I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; I have no good thing apart from You.'"
Do you believe that? Do you realize the Psalmist is saying that nothing is all good until it is connected or reconnected to God? I have no good apart from God. Do you believe that? Do you believe the only good in your life is God? Or do you consider that your life is filled with other good things, one of which may or may not be God? Perhaps you place Him as the highest good. Or perhaps you aren't totally convinced He is really that good at all.
The Psalmist is reminding us that when it comes to love, to life, to success, to perseverance, we were created and redeemed to be with God. He is our life; He is the Source of love. He is the One who is always with us, always seeking our best. We were not created or redeemed to go it alone.
In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell tells the story of Christopher Langan, a genius with a staggering IQ of 195. (For some perspective, Einstein's IQ was 150.) During high school, Langan could ace any foreign language test by skimming the textbook two to three minutes before the exam. He got a perfect score on his SAT, even though at one point he fell asleep.
Even so, Langan never put his exceptional gifts to use and ended up working on a horse farm in rural Missouri. According to Gladwell, Langan never had a community to help him capitalize on his gifts. He never became anything near what he was gifted to be.
Gladwell summarizes the story of Langan in one sentence: "He had to make his way alone, and no one -- not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses -- ever makes it alone."
We weren't created and redeemed to go it alone! And because of the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, you and I don't have to. Life is good because of Jesus' work. His life, His death and resurrection -- it connected us back to what makes things good: our relationship to God. In fact, Jesus is not just merely an example of how to live in light of the goodness of God. Jesus is God's goodness given to you. In place of your sin, God gives you His goodness in Christ. Faith delivers you to God's good gift of forgiveness in Christ. Faith in Christ grasps onto the promises of God's good grace in Jesus.
God's goodness is yours because of Christ. In fact, knowing Him isn't just good, it's the best. It's not generic; it's a personal, penetrating, persevering goodness that endures! Yes, indeed, it's all good.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to see that Your goodness is the key to my life, my joy, my strength to be useful in Your hands in service to others! Amen!
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries