SPIRIT OF GOODNESS
By Christy Lowman
I have developed a new sense of respect for the animal that I chose to represent the spirit of goodness. According to the Oxford Dictionary, goodness is “the quality of being morally good or virtuous.” Another word for goodness is generosity. Generosity is the act of “being kind and generous” as defined by Oxford. Goodness translated in Greek means “uprightness of heart and life” and is called agathosune. Another definition is: doing good by others, not doing good to be recognized. The Bible takes it a step further, meaning goodness is choosing to do right and good deeds over doing wrong and evil deeds, with no exceptions. In the Bible, there are several examples of people being generous and doing good and what is right by others even if that person had wronged them.
When God gave us the fruits of the spirit: Love, joy, peace, goodness, gentleness, kindness, patience, faithfulness, and self-control, He put the Holy Spirit in charge of working with our hearts to make us the best person we can be. These fruits are the results of us allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us which in turn ultimately develops us into being a Christlike person where the good deeds we do and how we act glorifies God. God wants to desperately grow us to be the best that we can be in Christ. Biblical goodness is having good morals and choosing to be the best person you can be. It might be choosing to do good towards someone who has done bad things to you instead of treating them like they treated you. It may be sharing your lunch with someone who doesn’t have lunch. It could be as simple as lending your extra pencil to someone in school. Sometimes being good means taking a stand and standing in the way of someone being bullied or hurt by someone else. Goodness is doing what is good and right instead of what is easy and mean. Humans by nature want to treat the ones that have hurt them the same way but that is not what God wants us to do. We are evil by nature, when we are hurt or have been mistreated, choosing to act in kindness is hard but displays the spirit of goodness.
The animal I chose to represent goodness is none other than the largest land mammal, the elephant. There are two types, the Asian and the African and they weigh as much as one or two cars! Elephants display goodness in so many ways. They are extremely sensitive and caring. They also experience feelings and emotions, display self-awareness, kindness, and compassion, and are highly intelligent. Elephants are great nurturers. If a baby cries or is sick the mother and other members of the herd will hug, comfort, and caress the baby with their trunks to comfort it. If an elephant dies other elephants, even those not in their herd, will try to comfort and revive it by gently rubbing its head with their trunk or by picking its body up. They will stop and take a moment of silence when one has died. Since an elephant doesn’t forget, they will remember the place where their loved ones passed away many years later and will stop and have a moment of silence at their grave. While elephants mourn their loved ones, other herd members will comfort those through touch and strokes during mourning and difficult times. People have witnessed liquid run out of the temporal glands on the sides of the elephant’s head like we do when we cry when elephants mourn.
When baby elephants, (called calves) are born, the herd sounds out a trumpet celebration announcing the birth. The babies are born blind and can stand in 20 minutes. It takes them an hour to walk and within 2 days can keep up with the moving herd. Within this time, the whole herd will guard the baby until it can stand. Other herd members will also babysit calves when needed. If a baby gets in trouble or is stuck in mud or a pond, the other elephants will work together to rescue the calf.
An elephant’s trunk is like an arm and hand to us. They cannot survive without their trunk. On the very end of the trunk, there is a finger, (African elephants have 2 fingers while Asians have only one). This finger allows them to pick up teeny tiny items, like a blade of grass, a peanut, or a grain of rice. The trunk is strong enough to pick up a full-grown horse. The trunk can carry up to 8 liters of water. Elephants also use the trunk as a snorkeling device when swimming, (they are great swimmers). They take showers with their trunks as well as give hugs and comfort others. Elephants will also use their trunks to pull darts out of the skin of other elephants. Babies have been seen sucking their trunks like our babies do with their thumbs. Elephants have over 40,000 muscles just in their trunks while we only have 600 muscles in our entire body!
Elephants are faithful to their friends. There are many stories out there about elephants helping and befriending animals and people. One elephant’s best friend was a dog. When the dog got hurt the elephant stood outside the window of the house and watched and waited for her girl pal to heal and get better instead of roaming the large acreage. She also carried the dog’s body back when it was attacked and killed by coyotes. Another example is a female elephant that accidentally broke a man’s leg. When she realized he was hurt, she gently carried him and placed him under a shade tree. She then would check on him and comfort him with her trunk. She ran off other animals that came near as well as the rescuers. Her herd left her, but she faithfully stayed behind and tended to the hurt man until the others lured her away far enough to rescue him.
Some other cool facts about elephants are the African elephant’s ears are shaped like the continent of Africa while the Asian’s ears look more like the country of India.
Elephants are vegetarians who eat up to 400 lbs. of food today. This is the same amount as an entire stocked vending machine! Humans only eat 3-5 lbs. a day. It would take 80 days of you eating five pounds of food a day to reach the amount of food an elephant eats in just one day!
Not all elephants have ivory tusks. Tusks are incisor teeth. They use them to rip bark off the trees, dig for roots, and protection. An elephant’s molar is the size of a brick.
Elephants are so smart they can recognize themselves in the mirror. In Japan, they were able to teach an elephant how to pick the computer touch screen that showed the most fruit on it. Elephants can also distinguish between good and bad people.
Elephants communicate in many ways. Some of the sounds elephants make, we cannot hear. These sounds are called elephant rumbles. Rumbles can be heard by other elephants up to 2km away. They communicate with trumpet-like sounds as well. They also communicate with touch, scent, and sounds that create vibrations in the ground that they feel in their feet and bones. Here is a video if you would like to hear an elephant rumble https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDi-iFF2oWg
The herd is run by an older female elephant. Most herds have around two dozen females in them. The youngsters learn vital information from their elders, like where to go for food and water, etc.
Although elephants’ skin looks tough it is highly sensitive. It is 2.5 inches thick but is subject to sunburn. They take mud and dirt baths to protect them from the sun. Elephants can retain water inside the wrinkles and skin folds to help keep them cool.
What do you think? Did I pick a good animal to demonstrate goodness? Can you think of ways you can show goodness in this evil world? How can you be generous to others? How did Jesus demonstrate goodness?
Dear Lord, I thank you so much for giving us the Holy Spirit to guide us and mold us into the person you want us to be. I thank you for giving us examples of how others have used the fruits of the spirit in the Bible. I also thank you for the animals you have created for us to learn from. Dear Lord, goodness is not always an easy trait to demonstrate. Please help us always choose to act in goodness instead of evilness. In Jesus s name, I pray, Amen.
“ In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. “ Matthew 5:16 NIV
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 6:10 NIV
Christy Lowman is a Christian author and illustrator that lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband and two children. She enjoys writing and illustrating books for all ages. Some of her short stories are published with Guideposts and HCI. Christy gives all the glory to God in everything she does. A portion of every book sold from the Small Bible Character Series will be donated to battle human trafficking. If you enjoy her books, “like’ her author page on Facebook and let her know! You can buy her books at //www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3AChristy+Lowman&s=relevancerank&text=Christy+Lowman&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1. You can reach her at //www.facebook.com/authorChristyLowman/
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