Part III of our series on Doing Good
How do we know what good we should do?
Jesus begins to teach us the answer in Luke 10:25–37. He says that we are to mirror God’s goodness in whatever situation crosses our path—especially among our enemies:
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Since God often takes us down dangerous roads like the Jericho road, we need to work together. Paul says in Galatians 6:9–10 that doing good is a team sport:
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
There is nothing safe about dispensing the goodness of God.
The Bible guarantees that we will suffer for doing good. “In fact,” says Paul in 2 Timothy 3:12, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” God’s mercy towards his enemies is most clearly revealed in the crucifixion of Jesus. Because of this, suffering publicly as we do good—humbly, without protest, bearing his name—is a means of grace by which we comes to see and understand God more clearly.
Why do Christians do good?
We do so for one reason: because we are dispensing the goodness that we received from God when we were yet his enemies. Doing good is a public act of faith in the goodness and justice of God, who assures us that we can always trust him to sustain us. The world where the wicked prosper will soon pass away.
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. (Psalm 37:1–3)
Pingback: Thankfulness Is Not As Counter-cultural As You Think | Do the Word