It amazes me just how many television channels you can flip through and still have trouble finding something decent to watch. In my case, I click through our lineup, but usually end up on the same channel… MeTV (short for Memorable Entertainment).
A lot of the programs shown on MeTV are favorites from my childhood. The Waltons, Perry Mason, Twilight Zone, The Rifleman, Adam 12, The Dick VanDyke Show, and Leave It to Beaver. Safe television - no shocking content or language in these programs.
Yesterday, I watched an episode from season four of Leave it to Beaver titled “Mistaken Identity.” In this episode, Beaver’s friend is caught vandalizing an old house and when the police officer asks his name, he says that he is Theodore Cleaver. In the remaining 20 minutes of the show, the police officer learns that Beaver is innocent. Now, Beaver must decide if he wants to “squeal” on the guilty party. Wally gives him some advice, and before long everyone knows the truth.
Wally’s advice was based on lessons learned at school. He said… “In Civics class we learned that we must work toward the common good. It’s okay if you “squealed” because you have the Constitution of the United States to back you up.”
This caused me to think hard about the governing document of our nation. So... I looked it up. Here are the familiar words from the Preamble…
We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish the Constitution for the United States of America.
I memorized these words in elementary school, but today I pondered them closely… We are a free nation, united by justice, peace, and safety and we work to secure these blessings for the common good of all. In short, we do what is right for everyone involved.
As Christians, God has gifted us everything we need to work toward the common good. 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12 lists a variety of spiritual gifts. In verse 7 we find the reason God has given the gifts… “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
In Matthew 23, the Pharisees gathered near Jesus… And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (vs. 35-40)
Jesus wrapped up the “Common Good” with his answer. The Ten Commandments help us to understand that we are sinners in need of a Savior. Jesus’ answer helps us to understand that above all else, we must love God and love others as we love ourselves.
The key is love. If we love God with all our being, then it should be our first nature to love others as ourselves… to work toward the common good and to secure the blessings of freedom for ourselves and everyone who comes behind us.
It’s a group effort, and thankfully we don’t have to do it in our own power… His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:3-8).
May it always be our first nature to love.
Remember this… you are loved, and you are always in my prayers.
In Christ, Cheryl