After the April blizzard my father told me to go next door and shovel the snow off of Ethel’s driveway. As an eleven year old, moving twelve inches of wet snow was a daunting and discouraging task.
Ethel was an elderly single woman who worked for my father, so I sort of understood why he wanted to help her. But I was less than thrilled to do it.
Years later, I look back and draw a couple of spiritual lessons from that experience. In the same way that my earthly father told me to do and trained me for good works, so our Heavenly Father exhorts and equips His spiritual sons and daughters to be “zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14).
A good deed is something that benefits another without any necessary or noticeable advantage for us. Ethel got her drive cleared, and all I got was a lot of exercise.
God’s instruction to do good is not obscure, but a sure command to His children. His people in exile were told to “seek the welfare of the city” (Jeremiah 29:7). Christ followers are commanded to “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works” (Matthew 5:16a), and to “be ready for every good work… to engage in good deeds” (Titus 3:1,8,14).
Often, we fail to oblige the call to do good, or only obey dutifully like I did on that snowy day. Doing good deeds God’s way requires action done with the right attitude, which is where inspiration comes in.
Those commanded to do good works are created for good works. “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). “We” refers to those “created in Christ Jesus”, meaning those “saved by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8,9)—Those rescued from condemnation for our evil by God’s undeserved gift of Christ who took our punishment on the cross. A deliverance made personal through our faith that Christ’s death paid our debt and His resurrection delivered us from slavery to sin (Romans 6:5,6).
God’s children are equipped for good works because our natural inclination towards self-preservation and self-exaltation is forgiven and powerless to dictate our actions. Christians are created for, commanded to do, and committed to good works so others will give God glory (Matthew 5:16). Lord, help us to do good sincerely in our family, among neighbors, with co-workers, and towards others, in fulfillment of our calling so that others will give You glory.