I want to tell you about a word that will change the world, but first, let me tell you about a large bag of seeds I was given—thousands of specks, with the promise of bright perennial flowers.

There was one problem, each package was out of date, some a decade out of date. We had nothing to lose, so my wife and I planted them with an element of faith, inexperience and trepidation, and wondering, will they grow?

Being a gardening novice, I’ve been delighted with the results. They have grown beautifully, every flower a delight. The package said out of date, but my yard declares colour and fragrance this year, and hopefully next.

While thinking about flowers, I discovered the largest flower in the world, the flower head alone, measuring up to 10 feet.

This giant, from Indonesia, is called the corpse flower, and it smells terrible. The flower blooms for only two or three days, after which it emits a smell of rotting flesh to attract insects. An impressive, striking bloom, looking like something from a 1950s science fiction film.

This flower reminded me of some people I have observed. They look amazing, but they surprise you when you get near them by emitting a lousy attitude, hardness, unkindness toward others, and being critical of everything. They look good, smell bad, and the way they speak and act stinks.

This is a danger for us in church; we look very presentable but must be careful that our attitude and actions are not rotten.

Now for the powerful word I promised. Goodness.

Goodness is a Christian virtue; it can change lives and impact your close relationships. Goodness in the bible combines being good and doing good.

Goodness needs to be practiced in the world. It is like lifting weights at the gym; you need to do the reps to see the change.

Goodness is powerful. Goodness is a bright flashlight illuminating the darkness of this world. Goodness shows God’s character through you and me; goodness can be like a magnet drawing people to faith.

It is goodness through our actions that create a striking portrait of Christ in this world.

Like an artist painting a portrait with strokes on canvas — as I express goodness, the colours give life to this world.

Goodness shows the love of God and how good He is; it shows his love in action through us. The Apostle Paul prayed for believers to be full of goodness (Romans 15:14).

Let us all sow the seeds of goodness and create a beautiful fragrance in our world — there is nothing outdated about goodness.

Phil Collins is a pastor at Willow Park Church in Kelowna. This column appears regularly in the weekend editions.