Post by Pastor Tim – You may say, “Do good . . . of course I know how to do good!” But the good that we are familiar with is often completely different from the good that God asks us to do. Pastor Foley made this point in his last blog post when he said, there is “a world of difference between doing good things . . . and doing the good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
The world of difference in our good works, is that we are not called to simply do nice things for other people. Instead, we are called to mirror the goodness of God that was given to the world through Jesus. Interestingly enough, we can see a specific pattern emerge when we look at Christ’s life and his teachings.
- Love your enemies (Luke 6:27)
- Do good to those who hate you (Luke 6:27)
- Bless those who curse you (Luke 6:28)
- Pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:28)
- Lend to your enemies, expecting nothing back in return (Luke 6:35)
- Greet those other than your brothers (Matthew 5:47)
What we see is that God’s pattern of doing good almost always originates with his enemies and it often is done at the giver’s expense. This is why my family has prayed for our enemies each and every day for the past two weeks. For me personally, this has meant that I have prayed for a former mentor and friend. He has alienated himself from so many who cared about him through his careless and criminal actions. There have been people that have tried to help him, but they have been hurt emotionally and financially by what he has done.
Now prayer in and of itself is a good work, but it also has opened up my heart to more opportunities to mirror Christ to him. One such opportunity that I’m praying about is to go through our discipleship materials with him. If I was simply trying to be helpful, I would just send him some money. But instead of being helpful, I want to point him back to Christ.
We currently offer the Whole Life Offering Discipleship Training Materials to groups serious about growing in discipleship. For a monthly fee, we provide training materials, videos, resources and coaching on how to use those materials. This is what I am going to offer to my enemy, the opportunity to re-establish his relationship with the Lord and re-orient his life towards growing in Christ.
I’m under no illusion that he is going to suddenly jump at the chance to change his life and become a disciple of Christ. He may decide that he wants nothing to do with me or the Whole Life Offering. Practically speaking, trying to help him in this way is probably a “long shot.”
But this is the very essence of Luke 6:35 when Jesus speaks about how we are to do good and lend to our enemies, without expecting anything in return. Robertson’s Word Pictures points out that this phrase “without expecting anything in return” was also used by medical writers to identify the desperate or hopeless cases. In other words, when Jesus tells us to do good to our enemies, he is specifically speaking of lost causes and desperate situations.
So as you seek to understand how to do good, remember that it almost always starts with prayer and it will inevitably end up with an investment of yourself with possibly no foreseeable advantage or benefit.