First Thoughts: Revd Peter on a good deed every day

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A Wolf Cub pack

“Dib, Dib, Dib!”

The other day I came across an old photograph (not the one above, but not unlike it) – and there I was, about 10 years old, in my Wolf Cub uniform. Though the picture was in black and white, I can still feel the green pullover and the blue and yellow neckerchief symbolising the pack to which I belonged. I have to say that I had beautiful knees, but very few badges.

It brought back memories of rituals and rules long gone, and of friendships and skills well remembered. It also made me think of “Bob-a-Job Week” when we had to try to do some good deed and ask neighbours and relatives to pay for the experience. It was an extension of the principle that we should always try to do at least one good deed every day.

I would not want to resurrect “Bob-a-Job Week”, (“5p-a-Job anyone?”) but the aim to do something good each day seems to me still to be admirable. To be expecting and looking for the opportunity to help someone, to increase the quantity of goodness in the world – that surely is a laudable criterion by which to live our lives. “Do not grow tired of doing good.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

Defining "good"

Now of course we can argue about what “good” is, and belief in God involves believing in an absolute goodness of which we know only in part and quite often misconstrue. Moreover, for good to be done, there has to be a recipient, and there is always the danger that one person’s good deed is another’s unwarranted interference. 

Accepting a good deed from someone involves a great deal of grace and patience, and there is a sense that obeying the rule of life which seeks to do good everyday also involves being willing gratefully and genuinely to accept the kind action.

As a Wolf Cub, it was all much more straightforward. But even given all the caveats and qualifications, and sensitivities required, I would put before you the old Cub rule and ask you to give it a go. In today’s dark days more than ever, we do need to overcome evil with good. So, here’s this month’s daily question for us all – me as well: “What did I do today which made the world a kinder, safer, more loving, more peaceful place?”

Peter Wolfenden