Good Works

By Pastor Teck Uy

When God called us to become believers, he did not intend that we spend our time in seclusion as we wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, he wanted us to be visible and be a blessing to others. This was God’s plan from the beginning. The apostle Paul said, “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10). Good works are one of the better ways to advance the gospel. People need to see evidence of God’s love, and this is manifested in the changed lives of believers who will do good works.

We are often clueless about what good works constitute. When the people asked Jesus what they needed to do in order to do the work that God required, Jesus responded, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29). By this, Jesus laid down the requirement for those who will go and do these good works. No one can do any work that would please God unless they become believers. All works done without faith are rubbish before God. The apostle Paul said, “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:8).

Of the many good works that we can do, there are five that can truly glorify the Lord. These are represented by an acrostic of the word “WORKS.” The first is witnessing. After his resurrection, the Lord commanded his disciples to go and be a witness for him.  He said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20). He also said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The second is to be open-handed. Jesus had always emphasized the need to help the poor and needy. Through Moses, God said, “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land” (Deut. 15:11). To encourage open-handedness, the Lord Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

The third is being respectful. One of the good traits of a believer is being respectful. The apostle Peter exhorted believers to do so, saying, “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17). Foremost is the respect shown to our parents. God made this so important that he included it in the Ten Commandments. He said, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Ex. 20:12).

The forth is being kind-hearted. The Lord wants us to be kind and sympathetic especially towards those who are less fortunate. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40). And the Lord Jesus showed utmost compassion when he commanded his disciples to feed the multitude. He said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way” (Matt. 15:32).

The last is to serve with all our hearts. Even as we mingle with people in our workplaces, we can glorify the Lord, not only though our good conduct, but with our faithful service. This is the reason the apostle Paul said, “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart” (Eph. 6:5-6). We certainly can glorify God through the good works that we do. Therefore, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Hallelujah!