Foundation of Love
Jesus stated that the greatest commandment was to love God and secondly was to love others as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). Love is more than a theoretical concept. It is a decision, a heartfelt choice, a responsibility, a purpose, and that which motivates to action. Love for God is exemplified through obedience to His word. Love for our neighbor is exemplified though deeds of kindness and charitable acts. Without this kind of love, people will not be pleasing to the Lord nor fulfilling their God-given purpose in life. The life of a saint should be full of deeds of charity.
The Good Samaritan
The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) was the pattern that Christ set for us to follow in helping people in need. If a Christian sees someone has need and does not help but is unmoved by compassion, how does the love of God dwell in him? “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18). A Christian’s life should consist of more than going to church, praying, and believing in doctrinal truth. It should consist of regular sacrifice and effort in behalf of people in need.
Jesus Set An Example of Good Works
Jesus went about doing good in His short time on earth (Acts 10:38). He not only preached and taught about God, He healed the sick. He visited the sinner. He fed the hungry (Matthew 15:32-39). He was a man of great compassion and ministered to the material needs of the poor. Dorcas was mentioned in Acts 9:36 as a woman who was “full of good works and almsdeeds.” The saints in the early morning church repeatedly gave to the poor (Romans 15:26-27) and ministered to the needy. Historians of the early Church suggest that extraordinary, sacrificial charity was a “primary driver” of the rapid expansion of Christianity. This should be the report of the saints today in the local and global community. God’s people should be known for their acts of love and deeds of charity.
Good Works Glorify the Father
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16). The purpose of charitable acts is not to gain a reputation nor to be seen of men. Rather, good works shine the light and love of God to a dark world. Through those works, the world might see the Father and be drawn to salvation.
Created Unto Good Works
Acts of charity do not save a person, but we were “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). Hence, one of the greatest purposes of the child of God should be to walk in good works. This goes beyond the personal works of righteousness and encompasses the sacrifice of time and money in behalf of others in need. “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth” (Ephesians 4:28).
Good Works Instructed
The scripture teaches that those who are rich (have more than needed) should be “rich in good works” and “ready to distribute” (1 Timothy 6:17-18). The saint is instructed to show a “pattern of good works” (Titus 2:7) and to “be careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:8). The child of God must truly “be careful” because the cares and busyness of life will begin to erode the lifestyle of doing for others. Many people today are selfish and never have enough time or money to give to the needy. This is a spiritual problem. Hence, Paul challenged the saints to “consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” (Hebrews 10:24).
Give According to Ability
The world is a large place and the needs are great. It is impossible for one person to give to all the needy who exist. The Lord does not want people to live in a state of guilt because He has blessed them individually or their respective country with prosperity. As God has blessed, the child of God is to share as they are able. “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
Some people separate their spiritual walk from the humanitarian needs around them. James 1:27 addresses this clearly, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Unfortunately, there are people that focus on one aspect or the other of pure religion. Pure religion is keeping oneself unspotted from the world and living holy before God. This is paramount, but pure religion also includes acts of charity—visiting the orphans and widows and providing for their temporal needs. “Remember the poor” (Galatians 2:9-10).
What does it profit if a man says he has faith and does not have works? If someone is naked and does not have daily food, and you say be warmed and filled and do not give them what they need, what does your faith profit? Faith without works is a dead faith (James 2:14-18).
True faith and pure religion is not all about personal piety. It is about the love of God working in the heart which causes one to love other people. That love and faith is lived out through ministering to the poor. There is great joy and blessing in living unselfishly. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Many people are missing out on the true blessing found through deeds of charity. The greatest reward will be eternal recompense (Luke 14:13-14).
Judged By Our Deeds
Jesus painted a poignant picture of the judgment scene in Matthew 25:31-46. People were judged not according to their spiritual gifting, their measure of faith, nor according to their modesty or long prayers. They were judged on their deeds of charity. Had they fed the hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick and the prisoner?
May our lives be transformed through Christ and may we daily, willingly work and minister with a generous spirit in behalf of the spiritual and temporal needs of others.