Early in the nineteenth century, King Frederick William III of Prussia found himself in a difficult situation. His country was involved in a very expensive war. At the same time, he was seeking to transform his country into a great nation. However, the country was financially crippled.
The thought of surrendering to the enemy was unthinkable. Therefore, the king came up with a plan to replenish the country's financial wealth. He approached the women of Prussia and asked them if they would be willing to donate their gold and silver jewelry.
On the cross, God displayed His eternal goodness to each one of us.
He explained that for each piece of jewelry they gave, he would give them an ornament of bronze or iron in return as a token of his gratitude. The inscription imprinted into these ornaments read, "I gave gold and silver for iron, 1813."
To the king's amazement, the response was overwhelming. The women prized his tokens of gratitude more highly than their former jewelry. The reason: the emblems were the mark of true sacrifice. It even became unfashionable for women to wear jewelry.
Generosity and sacrifice for king and country became the mark of true citizenship in Prussia. Goodness and sacrifice became the badge of honor for all Prussians.
In Galatians 5:22-23, the apostle Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit—those characteristics that are most like Christ in us. Goodness is one of those listed—goodness without thought given to personal sacrifice.
On the cross, God displayed His eternal goodness to each one of us. This is the same goodness we are to have for one another. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others" (Philippians 2:3-4).
Prayer: God, refresh my mind with new understanding of the fruits of Your Spirit. Weave them into the fabric of my heart so that my life may reflect and honor You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Colossians 3:12).