Moving from Good to Great

His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.
-Acts 17:27-28a

When I was walking around New York City in 2004, trying to be a writer and find my big break, God spoke and said, I’m requiring more of you. I was so determined to be like my literary sheroes and heroes that I had forgotten the call on my life, to honor God with the gifts and talents that I was given. So, I changed course and began the pathway to ministry. 

After being laid off in 2015 from my well-paying job, I struggled financially in Washington, DC because I was more interested in winning the battle against the city than accepting the grace that God had elsewhere. Finally, in 2021, I heeded God’s voice and moved to Augusta, GA, where I no longer live from check to check and where I can afford to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, well, at least when the supply chain works. 

Until 2021, I kept banging my head against the wall of the academy, determined to honor the wishes of one of my seminary professors to get a Doctor of Philosophy degree instead of following the path God set for me. God lovingly blocked every single pathway until I bumped into a door at a top institution where I am working on a Doctor of Ministry degree – the same degree God told me to get years before I even applied to seminary. 

I hope that this trip down my memory lane stirred something in you. I hope by now that you are looking for the places where you have missed God’s great for good enough. When it comes to the will of God for our lives, good is not good enough. God is after the great. The great is not about accomplishments, degrees, or finances. The great is not about accolades, awards, or plaques. The great is not about possessions, reaching goals, or hustle culture. The great is not about anything we can even ask, think, or imagine. The great is about God’s love and how in that love we find our purpose, our reason for being. 

Today’s text is set during one of Paul’s journeys. When we read Acts 17, we see that Paul has been on the move, trying to get away from some folks who kept stirring up trouble for him and his converts. These troublemakers chased Paul from Thessalonica to Berea to Athens. The important thing is not the chase, but the fact that everywhere Paul went, he kept living on purpose. He kept sharing the Gospel and bringing people to Christ. Paul was determined to do God’s will. 

Paul’s determination was found in his decision to live on purpose no matter what and no matter where life took him. That’s our lesson today. For us to go from good to great, we must be determined to live on purpose no matter the job titles, the positions in society, the committees at church, or the location of our homes. Our tangible blessings simply overflow from a life in Christ Jesus. As I like to say, the blessings are the icing, the cake is a life in Christ.  

As we move about our daily lives, making our mark on the world, may we always remember that it is in God, we live, move, and have our being. It is in God that we find purpose, which is the great life in store for us both here on earth and in eternity. 

Prompt for Thought: How do you define good versus great? How does God define good versus great? In what area of your life can you move from good to great according to God’s purpose and plan for your life?

Prayer for the Journey: God we thank you for every single blessing that you have bestowed upon us. We thank you in advance for the blessings to come. We never want to get so caught up in the gifts that we forget the Giver. We never want to forget our purpose. May we always remember to live, move, and have our being in you and you alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.