Good works, that’s why we’re called to do them. Good works isn’t just a category – it’s a description out of the outcome. Doing good works works because doing good grabs the attention of other people’s hearts.
Will good works always work out for the betterment of those who see them? Nope. Think about Acts 10:38 and then combine that with Matthew 5:11, 10:22 and we’ll see that despite how good a work is the bad will still be riled up in the eyes who see it. But we must continue in the working of good because the end goal is to let our light shine so that the God of Heaven may be glorified in our actions. And how are we called to do that again? Good works. (Matthew 5:14-16; Philippians 2:15) And why good works? Because they work!
Spiritual fruit is born when works are borne by our hands, feet, back and heart (Colossians 1:10). Where money alone utterly fails, good works bring a value to the soul’s sure foundation that will one day be “cashed in” (1 Timothy 6:17-19). At the end of the day, when it comes to our relationship with God, we don’t make the work good, the good work makes us, and it reveals a relationship with God that is tangible and undeniable (Titus 1:16).
Think about it – the reason that God’s word prepares us for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17) is because it’s the desire of God for us to be ever working what it is good (Titus 2:14). The works work for his purpose and for his purpose we’re called to go to work (Ephesians 2:10). And in doing so we can rest assured that our work will work out for the good because the good work isn’t only good – it’s working (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 4:16).
So now that the point has been made when it comes to works that are good and the good works working, the only question that remains is what will our “time sheet” say at the end of the day when it comes to doing the good that works? (Matthew 25:31-46)
“This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.” (Titus 3:8)
Most people are interested in leaving a mark on their friends, family, community, nation or even the world. They want their personality to be seen. They want their ideas to be heard. They want to be remembered for what they have done, how it was done and why it was done.
God’s word encourages His people to leave a mark too – but not our own. We’re encouraged to leave the mark of Jesus upon the hearts and minds of those around us. Whether or not we’re remembered by what we do, how we do it and why it was done doesn’t matter nearly as much as whether or not Jesus is remembered through it.
We’re called to leave our mark as Christians. Simple enough. Not as a man, a woman, a Jew or a gentile nationality per say (Galatians 2:36-37, Ephesians 2:14-18), but as a person who lived in the body of Christ, for the body of Christ and with the body of Christ.
When one lives for his or her self the mark that is left behind may last a while but it won’t last eternally, and in the meanwhile the one who lives for Jesus leaves behind a mark that is not always seen by the world but it will remain for the rest of time and then some!
At the end of the day, whether or not we leave a mark upon others depends upon what has left a mark upon us.
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:15-17 – NKJV)
One of the wisest things ever said by king Ahab was, ‘Let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off.’ (1 Kings 20:11)
Joining in the good fight of faith is admirable, but finishing it is what brings the reward (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Some fight in longer battles than others. Some put in more years of service. Some take upon themselves more responsibility. Some do better at recruiting others. Some do better at staying focused. Some are better at talking than walking because it seems as if that’s all they know how to do!
There are those who are very apt to criticize the actions of elders, deacons, preachers, Bible class teachers and the all around great working members of the body who are trying to get the work of the Lord done by through various activities and works. I find it strange that, more often than not, these people are also very apt to do nothing themselves before they criticize, in the middle of their criticism and when their criticism is done. They believe they can do things better than the way it’s being done. They have never taken on the responsibility but yet they feel responsible to tell another how it is or isn’t to be done. That’s a talker and not a walker!
In the context of 1 Kings 20 the king of Israel said what he had said because he cared about the things that were being threatened by the boastful leaders of Syria, but at the same time Ahab actually got up to fight. He didn’t just sit down and do nothing, he got to work and even more so after a reassuring word came from the Lord. He rallied the people and fought with a purpose. That day it was the Syrians who found out that talking and walking are two different things. It was the Syrians who found out that talking alone actually leads to running away!
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26)