Edgar Guest once said, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” It reminds us of the scripture which says, “…faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). We may sing songs of worship and talk a lot about God and His word, but if our actions are not touching the lives of others, it’s a dead faith.
Attending worship services and Bible studies may bring us closer to God, but they are not the complete picture of who God wants us to be. The prophet puts our behavior in perspective when he tells us God says, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). We’re doing things for others as if we were farming. The seed is sown, and fruit appears later. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Jesus helped us to understand the doing of good things when he taught about the judgment. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ Then the king will reply: ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:34-40).
In a recent visit to a person who was imprisoned I asked the Lord what He wanted me to say. I heard the Lord say, “Tell the man I love him.” After sharing God’s message of unconditional love I left with the feeling that there had been three of us present. The Lord was there assuring this man of His loving commitment to him. I felt the Lord saying that I had made that visit to Him!
God is the source of the good we do in this world. It may be an act of kindness or a word of encouragement, but it brings light to a dark moment. Jesus told us to let our light shine. “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). His words make clear the motive of doing good. People are to glorify God. They are to recognize a greater reason within us to serve than making ourselves feel good.
In A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Eugene Peterson writes, “The Christian is a person who recognizes that our real problem is not in achieving freedom, but in learning service under a better master.” Scripture reminds us that our lives are to be lived sacrificially. “…offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1). Therefore, doing good for others is a form of worship. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). Doing good for others pleases God. When we do good we’re serving and worshiping Him!
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.