1st of April
Many people are confused and wonder why they live. What is the purpose for living? They might be struck by sickness or any other problem. Others might be poor and do not know how to get enough money for living. Others have too much money and they do not know what to do with them. I do not want to minimize your problem, but I have been very inspired by a book written by a man without legs and arms. He travels around the world to inspire others to look for possibilities and solutions to their problems.
I recently listened to a sermon on the subject of good deeds and that inspired me to write about that this time.
I will start by quoting Eph.2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Paul says just before that we will not be saved by good works, but by grace through faith. I mention this in order to avoid misunderstanding. We are created in Christ Jesus. He was the second Adam. The first one caused the fall of man and the other wiped away our sins. Jesus is merciful and He is our example. If our deeds are driven by something else, our motives are wrong then. Many people are making good works since they think they have too or they might do it out of guilt feelings. That is quite obvious for others and you yourself will not have the joy nor the blessing. As Christians we have received the nature of Jesus and therefore we have His heart. We should therefore be very happy when we make good works since we are in Christ. Do other people make good deeds? Yes, absolutely. There are numerous individuals as well as small and big organizations performing good deeds all over the world. They are helping individuals, groups and countries. God has created man in Hid image and we are created for good deeds, but there are many who do not understand that love comes from God and they do not give God the credit nor the honor.
We who are saved receives power to perform good works. We do not need to become exhausted. I also think that we should be more conscious of the fact that He wants us to do the deeds that the Lord already has prepared for us. We de not spend hours in prayer before we do something good, but it is wise to ask God before you start a project. Has He prepared it for you? In Matt.11:30 it says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. God does not ask us to do the impossible, but will give us all the spiritual and materialistic help that is necessary. Many people say that they are satisfied with the money they have and they almost boast of it. I think it is very egoistic if you only want to have enough money for yourself. We need a lot of money in order to help others. The more we have, the more people we can help.
Since God says that we should walk in deeds that are already prepared for us, we need to think about the right timing. We should not do it too soon, nor too late. The Holy Spirit is our helper and our guide.
Both Matt.5:16 and 1.Pet.2:12 says that our good deeds give God the glory and honor. We represent the Light and a light is supposed to shine in the dark. We are not supposed to hide it.
I mentioned that Jesus is our example. What did He do? He performed one good deed that we cannot do and that is the work of salvation. That is done once and for all. Jesus was our example while He was walking on this earth. He was feeding the hungry in a miraculous way more than once. He used a few fishes and a little bread and that multiplied and became enough for many thousand. What God blesses, multiplies and bears rich fruit.
Jesus healed the sick and delivered those who were oppressed by the devil. In Mark 16:17+18 we read that all believers should do the same. We should lay hands on the sick and they shall recover and we should set the captive free. This is really to do good. Non-believers cannot do this since they lack the authority of the name of Jesus. We cannot heal nor drive out demons without the power of the Holy Spirit. I do know that the devil uses people to copy the deeds of Jesus.
God has through the entire Bible emphasized the importance of helping the poor. I refer to psalm 9:18 where it says that the needy shall not be forgotten for ever and psalm 12:5 goes like this: “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise, says the Lord. “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.” We can read in the New Testament that the members of the church should sell all they owned and give to the poor. God does not want people to suffer from poverty, but He wants us to share with them what we have. When we give to the poor, we are doing the works of Jesus.
In the Bible we are encouraged to help widows. They should be taken care of by the members of the church. It seems that more men than women died at that time. To-day we have another problem. Many women are left by their husbands. (It could also be the other way around) The fact is that a great number of women are left alone with responsibility for herself and her children. Are the church taking care of her and the children? They are often missing one of their parents.
The Bible encourages us to show hospitality. Both bishops and deacons should be hospitable. We read in Rom.12:13 “Distribute to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” That means that we should open our homes for those around us. Get acquainted with your neighbors and invite them for a meal. I have been received in many homes around the world and they have shared with me what they have. When one lives with someone, one gets quite close and one may hesitate to reveal one’s weaknesses. Others have been happy that I can be there to help them to correct bad habits. I have prayed a lot in the homes where I have been.
In Rom. 12 I have a title saying that the believers should serve each other with spiritual gifts. Paul refers to the spiritual gifts and he says that these should be used to help others. Another title goes like this: Show love to everybody! He encourages us to show love to our sisters and brothers and honor the others. He also desires us to share what we have with the saints. He continues to write that we should bless those that persecute us and cry with those who cry and laugh with those that laugh. He asks us to give food and something to drink to our enemy. This chapter is ended with these words: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
I could have written a lot about caring for children and young people and for the elderly. I could have mentioned all those who have been assaulted and harassed. There are so many vulnerable groups i our societies. God will show you what He wants you to do.
I will close by quoting some sentences from Is.58.
IS THIS NOT THE FAST THAT I HAVE CHOSEN: TO LOOSE THE BONDS OF WICKEDNESS, TO UNDO THE HEAVY BURDENS, TO LET THE OPPRESSED GO FREE, AND THAT YOU BRAKE EVERY YOKE?