Why Do You Call Me Good?

Duane Loynes

Read: Mark 10:17-22

And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good?

No one is good except God alone.” (v. 18)

One of the central characteristics of God is his goodness. God, we proclaim, not only possesses the maximal level of goodness, but he is the very standard by which goodness is measured. However, whenever adversity strikes, the first characteristic of God we question is his goodness. One of the age-old challenges to faith is the cry of a broken heart: “Why would a good God allow this to happen?”

In Mark 10, a rich man comes to Jesus for advice. By all appearances, he had good intentions: he knelt before the Lord in honor, referred to him as “Good Teacher,” and inquired about eternal life. Jesus, loving the man, gets right to the heart of the matter, telling the man to sell all of his possessions and follow him. The rich man leaves in great sorrow. The one whom he had referred to as good was now perceived in his eyes as delivering bad news.

I can relate to this man. We honor God as good in worship songs and theological affirmations. And yet, when we are called to live a life of sacrifice, we reject the one we call good. In our minds, we acknowledge that God is the essence of goodness, and yet when he pinpoints the weaknesses in our lives, our hearts despair. But if God is good, he is good all the time—even when he challenges us at the core of our being. —Duane Loynes

Prayer: Lord, you are good, and your mercy endures forever.