Someone once said, “Beautiful hands are they that do deeds that are noble, good and true; Beautiful feet are they that go swiftly to lighten another’s woe.”
Good deeds have been part of what defines the Christian since the dawn of time. The book of James says as much in 2:26, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”
Good deeds are not what save us, but they are expected from us as an outgrowth of the faith we place in God. In faith we take on the image of God and that naturally leads us to good works done in His name. One cannot claim membership in the family of Christ if they are unwilling to walk in the nature of Christ, who sacrificed Himself in small ways and great as one not to be served but to serve.
Good deeds are those done by the will of God expressed through His Word. They are not done to earn acceptance but are done out of rejoicing in the fact that we have already been admitted into acceptance through God’s grace. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
And these good deeds are done using the gifts God has given us to make a difference. Each person has strengths they are to use to glorify God and each person has talents in specific ministries targeted to help the Lord save souls. There is no person who doesn’t play a part in the whole.
Romans 12:5-8 teaches this saying, “So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” Together our deeds paint a picture that is not complete if one of the colors is missing.
Our good deeds were never intended to be done alone because done in unison they create greater change. That is not to say that one shouldn’t do things on their own that are good and right, but even then they are combining with others who have taken individual initiative to make a kingdom difference. The sum of all their good deeds work together to bring about Godly changes in the world.
Again, the caution we are given through the Scriptures regarding works is that they are not to be done to earn our way to heaven. Everything that needed to be done has already been achieved on the cross. Rather, our deeds are to be done out of a sense of humility and a profound understanding of God’s grace given to us because our good deeds could never amount to enough to pay the price for our sins. That had to be done for us by Christ, the perfect sacrifice doing the greatest deed of offering Himself up for His friends.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).
When we attend church, when we give of ourselves through our time, talents and treasures, when we put others before ourselves, our deeds wait for their reward, not given because of how good we are but because of how gracious God is.
What deeds have you done lately to glorify God and what was your motivation for doing them? Does faith play the major part in your achievements or does fear play the motivator? Learn to trust in God and do your good deeds out of a sense of thankfulness. We all have a part to play. Be a bigger part of the whole. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for instilling within us the tools to do the good deeds necessary to build Your kingdom. Motivate us to use them to Your glory and work within us a faith ready for service. Amen.