The other day I got to thinking again about the idea of good works or good deeds. These two terms are both used throughout the New Testament, for example:
“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” James 2: 17
“And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind.” Titus 2:7a
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6
“Don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” Hebrews 13:16
There are a couple of a couple of stories in the New Testament of people who think that good deeds/works are what will get them into Heaven, which isn’t the case. The only way to get to Heaven is by being saved by Jesus (John 3:16). But tied in with being a true believer and follower of Christ is the idea of good deeds/works. Jesus did good while He was here on Earth. He also spent time talking with God, teaching and building relationships, and loving others.
We all mess up from time to time because we’re sinners and not (yet) perfect, but life always seems to go a little smoother and be a little more rewarding when we’re doing good. As Hebrews 13:16 said, yes, sometimes a sacrifice is required as part of doing good. Maybe it means you’re sacrificing your vacation to go and do construction in a needy part of the world, or you’re giving up your free time to teach a VBS class, or you’re making a little extra food each week to share with your elderly neighbors. The virus has given us some new opportunities to do good including buying high-demand products in moderation and wearing masks, both of which are sacrifices that we haven’t had to work on before, but can really help others out.
And that’s what it really comes down to, is being willing to help others on many levels and ways both big and small, just like Jesus did day in and day out. And if you don’t know what to give or how to help, or don’t have the ability to get out and about or donate to charities, start with the advice of Romans 13:8: “Owe nothing to anyone-except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.” Doing good can be as simple and sometimes challenging as loving others.
What good will you do this week?