Doing Good Matters – ALL THE TIME!
Doing good does not MAKE you a disciple of Jesus – a believer, a follower of Christ, a child of God. Only the blood of Jesus, his atonement through his death and resurrection offered by His Holy Spirit in redemption, reconciliation, and restoration can MAKE you a disciple of Jesus. The only thing we offer is our repentance from sin and surrender to His invitation to make Him Lord.
BUT…doing good MARKS you as a disciple of Jesus. IF you are a follower of Jesus, one of the ways that others will be able to tell is by your love for one another – doing good all the time with all of ourselves.
Jesus told the disciples about what it would look like when He returns for those who have inherited His kingdom. He told them that they would be marked by their behavior.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”Matthew 25:35-40
Sometimes we get that wrong and assume we will be rewarded by doing the least of these, even though that’s not what the verse says – it says TO the least of these. Sometimes we want blessing, rewards, favor, acknowledgment, encouragement because we gave God an hour one Sunday last month when we attended church, or we gave him 15 minutes of Bible reading one Wednesday morning when we were sitting in line at the DMV, or because we gave our old VCR to a homeless shelter for the less fortunate. As we all well know, that list could go on and on.
In 2 Samuel 24, King David was told to go before the Lord, build an altar and make an offering on the altar. The guy who owned the place (the threshing floor) where David wanted to build the altar was willing to let him use it for his altar and even offered to give him the supplies he needed to make the offering. But David was not willing to accept this in order to offer it to the Lord. He said, “I will not offer to the Lord my God anything that cost me nothing.” He was not willing to give to God only what came easy or free to him – his leftovers. He bought the land on which the threshing floor sat as well as the animals, crops, and equipment on the land. This land later became the location of the Temple.
Doing the right things for the right reasons in the right ways at the right times is a MARK of a follower of Jesus. Our identity ALWAYS drives our behavior. We give things up. We make sacrifices. We surrender who we once were and submit ourselves to Him, His church, and His Way. How we live is determined by who we are.
What am I giving to God today that costs me nothing/little? What am I giving to God today that costs me my personal agenda, wants, desires, comforts, pleasures, etc.