We know that we are saved “by grace through faith, not by works, lest any man should boast”. We also know that everything we receive while we are here on earth is a free gift from God. So, what is the purpose of “good works” and why are they important? Well, there are at least two good reasons and probably more it you want to break them down. The first is this; now, that we are Christians, Jesus is our example and He went about doing good works.
38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.–Acts 10:38 (NLT)
The second reason is this; doing good works here on earth is how we store our rewards or treasures in heaven.
.20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.–Matt 6:20,21 (NLT)
If we do good works for these two reasons, it will keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus and our final reward of living an eternity with Him. If we focus on that, it will make the burdens lighter and we can walk the path with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts and a song of praise on our lips!“
The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
41 “Then the king will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me! God has cursed you! Go into everlasting fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels! 42 I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me.’ 44 “They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’ 45 “He will answer them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do for me.’ Matthew 25:41-45 (God’s Word Translation)
I cannot read these verses without being reminded of how little I do for others. True, my resources are very limited, but it is also true that if we have a home in which to live, food for today and tomorrow, and one extra set of clothing, we are richer than 80% of the world’s population.
How much is too much? How little is too little? These are questions we all need to talk to God about and let Him answer those questions for us. I think how we receive those answers from God will go a long way in showing us where our hearts and our treasures lie. What would happen if we really and truthfully depended on God to supply our every need? Could we, would we do it? The apostles did. 7 He called the twelve apostles, sent them out two by two, and gave them authority over evil spirits. 8 He instructed them to take nothing along on the trip except a walking stick. They were not to take any food, a traveling bag, or money in their pockets. 9 They could wear sandals but could not take along a change of clothes. Mark 6: 7-9 (God’s Word Translation)
I am probably going too far with this (something that I usually do when I am researching and meditating on topics), but I sometimes feel conviction when I open my closet door and see clothes hanging there that I haven’t worn this year (and probably not last year, either). And, even though I have a very small refrigerator and pantry, I have food that I could share. Especially this time of year with the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons approaching, as well as the cold weather that is coming. Material things, in and of themselves, are neutral, but our attitudes, thoughts, and our ultimate actions regarding those things are not neutral.