Day 17 | Good Works

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
Ephesians 2:10

A group of professional atheists exists (we have professional theists, so I guess it’s only fair) whose dedicated mission is to publicly discredit Jesus’ impact on the world. They have attempted to reduce him to a mere religious phenomenon whose story somehow shook loose from its limited Middle Eastern environment and mysteriously struck the right chord in an unsophisticated world. One of the challenges that these naysayers have wrestled with, but never quite conquered, is how the gospel had such world-shaking impact wherever it was carried. 

Jesus’ story moved so quickly and had such unprecedented consequences that it transformed the entire cultural environment of the western world, eventually moving across every continent. Even these deconstructionists have had to admit that the unprecedented success of the gospel was directly related to the willingness of Jesus’ followers to serve and care for others, even those who were totally unlike themselves.

The world at that time was a harsh and unforgiving place where societal strata and power only for the powerful was the sole order of the day. History records reveal, however, incident after incident where Christians stepped up in the worst of conditions and cared for the sick and dying, the broken and the dispossessed, even when it cost them their lives. It is undeniable that the church moved forward because it had a compassionate core that reflected the heart, power, and teachings of its Master. Those early Christians believed that Jesus is Lord. Truthfully, after all this time, nothing has changed.  

These current 21 days at LifeChurch have been set aside to stir a hunger in us; a hunger to see God move in our lives, our church, and our world. We have seen how this hunger is a progression. As Jesus-followers, we first respond to a hunger to truly know God ourselves. Then, we quickly experience a growing hunger to become connected to God’s people - we were never meant to do this alone. 

But the hunger doesn’t stop there. The natural outcome of living life with our Father within the Body of Christ is a yearning to draw people still on the outside into our circle of life and fellowship. If our interests stop only at being in a safe place with safe people who are just like us, we deny the heart and natural consequences of a life lived in fullness with Christ. As healthy believers, God will push us back out into the world to be a visible and believable testimony to God’s love. He isn’t finished rescuing people, so we aren’t finished either.  

To enlarge on a phrase familiar with LifeChurch regulars, the hunger to “make a difference,” is the desire to be God’s hands and feet on this earth. That happens only as we allow our hearts to be reshaped into God’s image. His desire is to duplicate himself in miniature in each of us, and then move us to function as he would. We become God’s handiwork, reflecting his nature and his compassion. Like our heavenly Father, we will constantly be reaching outside ourselves to draw people in God’s direction by loving and serving them. In the scripture above, Paul refers to making a difference as doing “good works.” So, we now know what we have been created for.  

Good works are the actions taken when we have adopted God’s attitude and methods which are capable of changing the course of people’s lives. We show kindness and generosity where there has been abuse, lack, and fear. When we are moved with compassion to see people’s lives become better, in this moment and for eternity, and then take appropriate action to make that a reality, we are only then truly taking after our Father.  

Pastor Tom Chism
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