The Value of Good Intentions

When you hear the expression “good intentions,” what comes to mind? Don’t we often use it to refer to the common tendency to intend to accomplish something worthwhile, while never getting around to it? We even have a saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Empty promises

An example of good intentions gone awry is that of the Israelites at Mount Sinai. Three times they pledged their intentions to obey God’s law (Exodus 19:8; 24:3, 7). But it wasn’t long before they were worshiping the golden calf (Exodus 32). So much for good intentions!

How easy it is to resolve! And just as easy to renege!

Promises kept

And yet, think of all the cases both in the Bible and throughout history where good intentions led to great outcomes.

Ruth expressed her determination never to leave her widowed mother-in-law Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17). She kept her word.

Paul announced his plans to visit Rome. In spite of tremendous hardships, with God’s help he finally arrived (Acts 19:21; 23:11; Romans 1:10-15; 15:22-32; Acts 28:14-31).

The problem, then, is not with good intentions per se. Like mighty oaks from tiny acorns, countless great accomplishments began with good intentions.

Three stages

So what do we need? Follow-through, dogged persistence, tenacity. In other words:

                  Good Intentions → Consistent Effort → Mission Accomplished

Paul wrote the Corinthian church about their plans to participate in a generous contribution for their poor Jewish brethren. They had gotten off to an enthusiastic start, but Paul was concerned that their initial eagerness was cooling.

He urged them, “But now finish doing it also, so that just as there was the readiness to desire it, so there may be also the completion of it by your ability” (2 Corinthians 8:11).

Paul’s appeal was successful. They came through after all! (Romans 15:25-28)

How we need good intentions. No other kind will do!

job done-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

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