Good is better than Great!

And we know that in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good&mash; with those who have been called according to his purpose.  —Romans 8:28 (NIV)1

“Don’t have a good day—have a great day!”

This is how the lead character in the 2021 movie Free Guy greets his colleagues and customers each morning. It is his catchy way of wishing everyone a positive start to their day.

I affirm his enthusiasm but propose another rhetorical twist: “Don’t have a great day—have a good day!”

The apostle Paul in the Scripture verse above tells us that God wants to work together with us “to bring about what is good”.

There is a lot that is not good in our world today. As I write, the Russia-Ukraine war has brought much suffering, death and fear. Covid-19 continues to afflict everyone. More common but no less crippling are the challenges caused by disease and dementia, floods and fires. But in all these things, the apostle Paul tells us that God wants to work together with those who love him to bring about whatever good we can. Or in another memorable phrase which Paul writes in the same letter, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

This paraphrase of John Wesley’s words gives a similar exhortation:
Do all the good you can by all the means you can,
In all the ways you can, In all the places you can,
At all the times you can, To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.

So don’t worry about trying to win great and mighty victories for God. Just work together with God to bring about a little bit of good to all neighbours in our troubled world.

Don’t have a great day—have a good day!

1 The more well-known translation of this same verse makes a different point: God works for the good of those who love him. But since the Greek verb (lit. “to synergise”) normally implies working or synergising with something rather than for something, it is more likely that the NIV footnoted translation cited above is closer to what the apostle Paul intended.

Bishop Dr Gordon Wong was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2020.
He served as President of the Trinity Annual Conference from 2012-2020.