“Goodness makes greatness truly valuable, and greatness makes goodness much more serviceable.” Whatever am I talking about, you may ask? Well I found this fascinating quote today from Matthew Henry’s Commentary, and it’s whirling around in this little brain of mine, so I thought it only fair that I should spew my findings with you. You are welcome 🙂

Quite honestly, I had to re-read it a couple of times and put it into context until I had my “Ahhh, I see!” moment. I was reading about Cornelius the centurion soldier in Acts chapter 10, and decided to dig a little (and I mean only a  little) deeper. I’ve read this passage before, and glossed over this centurion with a cool name (wouldn’t Cornelius be an awesome name for a cat?) He was the first non-Jew to hear the gospel of Jesus, thanks in part to the disciple Peter, who obeyed God’s calling to go and speak with this Gentile. But why Cornelius?

Soldier's Legs and Boots --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis


We are told he and his family were God-fearing, and he obviously had a strong faith and rock solid prayer life. He was also generous and gave to the needy, showing love and compassion in action. He was a centurion— a successful officer in a position of leadership, held in high regard and with deepest respect.


He was GOOD and GREAT.


Talking of goodness and greatness, Matthew Henry puts it like this, “two characters that seldom meet, but here they did; and where they do meet they put a lustre upon each other”. Goodness and greatness. A good character, moral, generous and godly— combined with a great (successful, influential, respectful) profession is a winning combination for the glory of God. May sound like a no-brainer, but I think sometimes we sell ourselves short.




My “professions” have included mother, banker, home-school educator, worship leader, and author. Never, ever been a centurion. Have I strived for greatness in all these, eager to reach my full potential that I may display to as many as possible God’s goodness through my character? Um, probably not.

As my own kids catapult themselves into the big ol’ world of “real” jobs and academia, what should I attempt to instill in them? I want them to be good AND great. I want their strong, beautiful, godly characters to shine bright and bold in whatever they do. I want them to “reach for the stars” and aim high and use their God-given brains and artistic abilities to lead them to greatness, whatever their profession ends up looking like.


Glass Globe


As a writer, some days I wonder if my words make any difference. Seriously. Would my time be better spent pursuing something else or doing something a little more tangible? Then God hits me with a metaphorical 2 by 4 and I’m reminded that my “greatness”— that is my profession/ passion/ talent/ career path can be used by Him in unimaginable ways when it’s backed up by goodness… a godly, moral, generous  life which I can only hope to live by His grace. Aha.

We all have potential to be GOOD and GREAT.

And really make a difference.

Back to our friend Cornelius. Once he heard the gospel message of Christ’s sacrifice and grasped the enormity of God’s love, he was saved and baptized. And I’ll bet that goodness of his was amplified beyond recognition once he was a Christ follower. His greatness, his position in the workplace would have given him opportunity to live out God’s goodness and I’m pretty sure lives were changed as a result. God’s plan in action. Don’t you just love it?


No matter our “profession”, we all have a sphere of influence and an opportunity to shine God’s goodness in the greatness where He has placed us.







Linking up with HolleyGerth.com and some other fabulous encouragers. Check them out: