“WISDOM OF LIVING (20) GOOD INTENTION”       Pastor YAU

James 4:17                                                                       March 13, 2005

 

INTRODUCTION:  In a Peanuts cartoon, Marcie gives her teacher some flowers. Not to be outdone, Peppermint Patty says to the teacher, “I thought about doing the same, Ma’am, but just never got around to do it. Could you use a vase full of good intention?” We’ve all had good intention of doing something good but failed to follow through and that good will never gets to anyone to mean anything.

 

GOOD INTENTIONS ARE IMPORTANT:  There are many reasons why good intentions are important. Let me suggest just a few:

1)   Good intention shows a good heart. When Jesus said “Only good trees bear good fruits,” He told us a simple truth: what is on the inside will show on the outside. Just look at your intentions and you will see what is in your heart.

2)   Good intentions will lead you to do good things. Except those serious procrastinators, most of us will follow through with actions what we intended to do in our hearts. This in turn will bring good things to happen either to others or to your self.

3)   Good intention may sooth your conscience even when things don’t happen the way you want them to. There are things that happen, even with good intention, not exactly the way we want them to, but a good heart, or intention, may bring you some degrees of comfort.

4)   Good intentions help energizing your life. God has given all of us a sense of decency. Anytime we do something good because of a good intention, there is joy and satisfaction in our hearts.

 

OBJECTS OF GOOD INTENTION:  The list of objects or recipients of our good intention may never end because this world needs so much of them. Let me just suggest a few for your consideration. You may add a dozen more to the list.

1)   To yourself. Let us begin with the easiest or the most natural. We all have self interest of our own life. Intentions like cut down our food intake to lose some weight, begin a more regular exercise ritual, curb our tongues from saying filthy words, get up a few minutes earlier in the morning so you don’t have to be so rushing and the list goes on and on. We all know that things like these are good for our lives, so, we intend to do them.

2)   To your family/loved ones:  Almost all of us want to do something good to people closest to us: a little gift, a small gesture, a few kind words, a helping hand, a care attitude, all to show your love and support they need and to make their lives a little easier. These are people who are part of your life. Hold them high and important.

3)   To your acquaintances: God has a purpose in putting people around you and some of them you may not like the best.  But they are here and we need to have good intention toward them: want the best for them. Being helpful or cordial in your everyday dealing with them. Holding proper attitude and good will for their well being is another way. Making their lives a little better and easier in some small ways. You know what to do more.

4)   To God and His church:  This is placed at last but not the least important God knows your heart better than you know yourself. So, express your good intention to Him through His church and all the people in it. Do things, say things, express attitude and kindness to your church in which you are part of as God intends. If you hold good intention to His church, God will hold good intention for you.

 

COMMON EXCUSES GOOD INTENTION FAILED: Good intentions are not good enough when they are never expressed. To the story in the introduction, I added something like this: “Peppermint’s good intention was never fulfilled because the teacher was killed in a car accident on her way home that afternoon.”  We may have thousands of excuses why we never get around to act on our good intention and often enough what is left for us is deep regrets when the opportunity of expressing them is all but gone. Let me suggest some common excuses:

1)    I still have time: No need to hurry, I may do it tomorrow or the day after. But that day after may never come. A Christian knows it is very important to witness to her mother, but was too busy to do it. Then one day, her mom just died after she fell into a coma only for a few days. Just as Peppermint missed the chance to give her teacher flowers, this good Christian regrets the rest of her life because she will never have the opportunity to express her good intention.

2)    I am too busy now:  I will do that when I am not that busy. We all have 24 hours a day and we always manage to do all the things we consider important. The fact you never find time to do your good intention tells that it is not that important. It may not be so important to you, but it may be very important for the recipient. You may be the only person to do that good will. Once I saw a sign cautioning drivers to slow down on a street construction site. It reads like this: “PLEASE SLOW DOWN. To you, I may be just another construction worker. But to my family, I am everything.”

3)    I don’t know what to do:  There are people who have good hearts and good intentions but never get to express them because they don’t know what to do. Ask yourself what you want others do to you when you need some good will and do just that. A phone call, a visit, a card, a helping hand, offer yourself, some gesture of care and love, spend some time, the list ends only when your heart runs out of imagination. When you have a heart, you will find a way.

4)    I am not sure if he/she will like this:  Hesitation of expressing good intention is a big problem which stops many people from doing the right thing. If your intention is good and pure, go ahead to make it known to someone who needs. Worrying what others may say or think is a sign of intimidation and fear. The Bible says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” (I John 4:18) If you have love and good intention, people will know and appreciate.

 

TURNING INTENTION INTO ACTION: It is one thing to have good intentions but it is quite another when they are expressed in actions. Intentions that never shown help no one: not the doer or the receiver because nothing is done to show it. These are few suggestions to help you begin doing the good intention you have:

1)   Recharge your heart with good intention: Don’t let everyday routine stops you from doing what you know is right and good. The power of doing good come from your heart. Keep it burns with the fire of love. When your love is strong, it will show.

2)   Be observant of others and their needs:   In a society which focuses so much on what I need, few will pay attention to what others may need. Just open your eyes and hearts and you will see, feel and find someone who can use some good heart. It is by giving you find your worth, impression in some hearts and are remembered. The story of the Good Samaritan may be our best encouragement to do our good intention.

3)   Be generous: Showing good intention may cost you: time, money or even your heart. It is by giving we find our worth, demonstrate our love to people and show our obedience to the Lord. Remember the song: Thank You? You never know how much fruits you may bear in heaven because you give. God will always replenish your tank so you can do more each day.

4)   Do not expect returns:  The Lord knows what you have done and He will bless them. Just as the little boy gave up his little lunch, God may use it to meet the needs of 5,000. There is no record Jesus rewarded that young man. We give because we love and that is all. Never expect any return from your recipients. The Lord will bless you in many other ways. Remember God’s promise? “A man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper.” (Proverb 11:24-25)  If there is any return, it comes from the Lord.

 

CONCLUSION:   In this world of self seeking and selfishness, it is not natural to have good wills or good intentions. Yet we have the best example of good will which is the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. From His coming to this sinful world, went through a life with many sorrows and died on the cross of exceeding pain and suffering, we see the most perfect model of acting out the good intention of God.

       The BEST of all the good intentions we may have is to prepare our eternal life in believing Jesus as Lord and Savior. Many of you have that good intention for months or years, and NOW is the time to put it into action. Confess your sins and ask Jesus to come into your heart. Then share your faith with your loved ones: parents, family and close friends. Time may not be on your side. You have a good intention? Show it now.  

       Now it is our turn to follow His footsteps. At the end of His famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus concluded it by saying: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24)

       James, the Apostle, says, “Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, he sins.” (James 4:17)