January 22, 2015

Are we to do good works then?  Are we to help the sick, feed the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, visit those in prison, or just do what simply needs to done for those who have a need?  Have we neglected spirit of the law as we appear to be minding the word of the law?  Are we moving out of our comfort zones and doing things that make us uncomfortable, getting dirty?  Are we waiting for God to bring the needy to us instead of going to where the needy are?  How much do we really care?

We have been saved by grace through faith, and not by our works (Eph 2:8-9) so we cannot say that we earned our spot in heaven.  We were born in need of a Savior and we cannot escape that need.  We cannot build enough homes for the homeless or cook enough meals for the hungry to overcome the deficit of our sin in the debit column of God’s book.  Only Jesus living within us can move our name from the book of wrath and have it entered into the Book of Life.  I cannot build a portfolio of works and give a killer interview when it is time for my judgment.

Now that I am saved, do my works matter?  Absolutely they do!  Paul tells that before the foundation of the world we who are saved were destined to be saved.  We were predetermined to be adopted by the Father.  And just we were destined to be saved, the Father has also predetermined a list of good works for us to complete.  We do not know what these works are or when we should do them, but when it is time to do them the Holy Spirit will tell us.  It will be unmistakable.

When I was younger, I was attending a college-aged church group at another church.  At the beginning they made an announcement about an upcoming mission trip to Honduras to help a missionary build a building for a church he had planted.  As soon as I heard the person speak, I knew I had to go to Honduras, and I do not regret the decision.  Even though I got violently sick with Montezuma’s Revenge, it did not alter my view of the trip.

Now here is the kicker, when we stop being spectators in the church pews or comfy seats, stop listening to others tell their stories of how God blessed them when they believed they were on the giving side, not the receiving.  Because when we give in the name of Jesus we receive from Him more than we gave.  I cannot explain how it is but it is nevertheless true.  The act of ministry is never a one-sided transaction as we tend to believe them to be.

I ask you to pray as I try to remember to pray that I will act when I feel the Spirit prompting me to act, and for opportunities to act in His name.  I am not as active as I should be but I am becoming more amenable to putting myself out there.  As a Christian we are told to live out our faith in the works the Father has set before us because faith without works is dead.  I do not want Jesus to tell me, “Depart from Me for I never knew you.”  Do not be one who makes it into heaven as one who barely passes through the refining fire.