Pastor’s Corner: In Trouble

There’s a saying that goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Say it aloud, and people will chuckle ruefully. As George Bernard Shaw observed, funny things contain a hidden truth, and so does this little sentence. Good deeds often come with a high price.

Sometimes it’s the straightforward cost of doing your good deed (the time, the effort, the money, the skill). Sometimes it’s the result of unanticipated circumstances; people die each year in an effort to save someone else. Sometimes it’s an unreasonable cost: the deaths of the Christian martyrs, or the crucifixion of Jesus.

Most of the time, though, it’s this: If you do a good deed, people will expect you to do it again. And that’s where the trouble begins.

My children both attended a high school in another city twenty miles from home (say from here to just past Pahoa). Fortunately, it was also the city I worked in, so when my daughter put together an after-school program it was easy to pick her up.

My good deed was to say “Yes,” when she asked if I could give a ride home to others in the program as well. And, well, she did expect me to do it again. So we’d drive twenty miles in another direction, and then twenty-five miles home.

As tempting as it is to blame her, I know perfectly well who got me into that line of trouble.

But that’s the trouble I’d like to be in. I’ve been in other kinds of trouble, and trouble from generosity is so much better. I get to be the kind of person I want to be the entire time (even if that person grumbles more than I’d hoped). The first time, the second time, and every time.

So get into trouble, my friends, with an extended hand, or a thoughtful card, or a helpful gift, or an offer of help.

It’s the best kind of trouble there is.

Peace to you,


Photo credit: By The Wordsmith – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: , | Posted on October 5, 2016

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