The Powerful Goodness
“It is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for God’s good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13
Ben Franklin uttered more than one phrase that Americans wrongly attribute to the Bible, such as: “The Lord helps those that help themselves.” It might be surprising to know Franklin was in fact an atheist (though that didn’t stop him from saying “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”)
Yet, Ben had a spiritually healthy daily routine that we can all learn from and mirror. According to his diary, it went like this:
Ask the morning question: what good shall I do today?
Rise, wash, address Powerful Goodness, contrive day’s business and take the resolution of the day, prosecute the present study, and breakfast.
Read or overlook my accounts, and dine.
Put things in their places, supper, music or diversion, or conversation, examination of the day.
Ask the evening question: what good have I done today?
Even as we acknowledge the ruling-class privilege that made it possible for Ben to have such a simple routine (who did the dishes? took out the trash?), it’s still a lovely invitation to make a calm life which observes the holy rhythms of work, rest and play.
But perhaps even better, it’s an invitation to a life that doesn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the Good, a life that in fact addresses “the Powerful Goodness,” God by another name, a name that reminds us, made in that divine image, of our own callings.
Higher Power, Holy God, Powerful Goodness, work through me, simply, strongly, to make life powerfully good for others, every day. Amen.
Molly Baskette is lead pastor of the quirky, loveable and truth-telling First Church Somerville UCC in Somerville, MA. Read their personal testimonies in her latest book, Standing Naked Before God: The Art of Public Confession.