What is the ‘Good’ in Life?

The Sermon is here…


From the Parish News..

Living the ‘Good’ Life,

First a question: Which countries do you think receive more blood donations, those who pay you to donate it or those who don’t? The answer is, those who don’t pay. In this fascinating statistic lies a vitally important fact of human nature that economists, behaviourists and our present commodity-driven consumerist culture all ignore. That deep in our root and bones, we are better motivated by generosity than greed and we are intrinsically altruistic.

The following story is told (in his own context) by Yanis Varoufakis in his economics book ‘Talking To My Daughter About The Economy’ ,which I got for Christmas in an attempt to become more aware of the economic world we live in and how we got here.

The early evening sun is beautifully setting and a father and his daughter are sailing their mermaid in to the shore, they are coming to meet friends and have a picnic on the beach and during the meal one of the young cousins makes them all laugh with his crazy humour. During the meal a boat gets caught around another’s anchor and the single elderly gentleman calls out for help from the sea, the young daughter fit and courageous dives into the sea and swims out to help him.”

Yanis explains this story by talking about how we can all see the ‘good’ things in it: the sunset, the friends, the humour and the selfless help of a stranger – the putting ourselves out for others. He then asks us to imagine these things as ‘commodities’ like humour which becomes the job of the professional comedian and imagine if the gentleman in the boat had shouted out,’I need help, I have £10 here for anyone who will swim out and help’, a selfless act becomes a transaction for payment.

In our present culture we may have forgotten the difference between ‘goods’ and ‘commodities’, we may even have lives that are much more about financial transactions than they really should be for our wellbeing. However it is actually obvious to us, if we stop and think, that sunsets, friends and neighbours to care for are the real ‘goods’ in our lives. In church services we might call this ‘love of God and love of neighbour’ and they are the vital commandments for a life lived in all its fullness according to Jesus. The lessons taught by the Way of Jesus in all He says and does are that we should live in the good and only rarely in commodities – giving then unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.

So, at this start of a new year, think of all the things that you do ‘for nothing’ the things that cannot be priced. The hours that can’t be logged like raising children, passing of skills in sport or clubs, volunteering, making things, acting, dancing, gardening, sharing food, walking, playing … and give them the value they truly deserve, for they make a ‘good’ life, and they are PRICELESS. God Bless Ali

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