What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Monday, March 02, 2009

"Great" or "Good?"


"At the turn of the 20th Century, a disillusioned man who had failed at almost everything he had attempted wrote to his sister, 'When I was young I longed to write a great novel that should win me fame. Now that I am getting old my first book is written to amuse children. For, aside from my evident inability to do anything 'great,' I have learned to regard fame as a will-o-the-wisp...but to please a child is a sweet and lovely thing that warms one's heart.'

"The man was Lyman Frank Baum, and his best-known book began to take form when a group of children, led by his own four boys, waylaid him one evening in his modest Chicago home, demanding a story. After a hard day's work, Baum often turned to fantasy as many men turned to alcohol. Sitting down with the children surrounding him, he began to talk. He gave no thought to what he was saying and later wrote in amazement, 'The characters surprised even me - it was as though they were living people.' Baum told of a little Kansas farm girl named Dorothy who was carried by a cyclone to a strange land where she met a live scarecrow, a man made of tin, and a cowardly lion. One of the children asked, 'What was the name of the land, Mr. Baum?' Stumped, Baum looked around him for inspiration. In the next room were filing cabinets, and one bore the letters O-Z. 'The land of OZ!' exclaimed the storyteller and continued with the tale, unaware that he had added a new word to the English language." (From "The Father of Oz, by Daniel P. Mannix)

It appears to me that L. Frank Baum was finally able to do something "great," but it came out of an effort to do something "good," to entertain little children.

How often, I wonder, do we aspire to greatness when God wants us to aspire to goodness? (And, in turn, greatness becomes the end result?)

Jesus taught us that goodness and faithfulness (loyalty) are the primary characteristics by which we will be evaluated when we stand before Him. (Matthew 25:21) Goodness - not greatness.

One of my favorite new TV shows is "Eleventh Hour," a CBS drama about Dr. Jacob Hood, a biophysicist and special science advisor to the U.S. government. Hood spends his life in "pursuit of those who would abuse and misuse scientific discoveries and breakthroughs for their own gain."

In one episode he hunts and eventually confronts a physician known only as Geppetto, who has cloned several children in order to use them as spare parts to replace her failing organs and save her own life. (Makes one think what dark goals may actually be reached by people of science devoid of conscience and character.)

Anyway, as Dr. Hood confronts the selfish "puppetmaster" (undoubtedly code-named Geppetto for the similarity to the toymaker who created Pinocchio) on her sick bed, an interesting exchange brings the entertainment to a denouement. Geppetto, thinking she is about to receive body parts from the cloned children that will help her regain her health, is instead met by Dr. Hood with the news that the game is up.

Geppetto: "You are good Dr. Hood...but you will never be great."

Dr. Hood: "I can live with that."

And so should every follower of Christ be able to say, "Good...I can live with that."


  • At Wednesday, March 04, 2009 6:56:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Makes me think of some lines actually that was in the war and peace movie(the one I just recommended to you guys). One of the main characters just wishes he had one great and glorious day where all men would look at him.


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