What are you willing to do in the name of Christian charity? Would you feed the hungry? Would you serve at a soup kitchen? How about volunteer to help with disaster cleanup? Or maybe drop money into those red buckets around Christmastime?
What I find interesting about this verse is the word “all.” This good work is not limited to those I like or those I worship with. It is for all people that we have an opportunity to serve. But something else you may note: it is not working for what each person thinks is good for them, but working for “the good” of all people. What is the very best good for all people? For them to know the person and grace of Jesus Christ.
What’s funny about Christian charities is that people will always approach you with what they think will do them the most good, like paying a utility bill, rent, or money for gas to get to the next church. Is it “good” for a church or charity to subsidize or even fully support someone who cannot manage their money? I am not talking about the unable to work, but the unwilling to work.
If you’ve been on the receiving end of charity as I have, you know it isn’t a place you want to be. You are there out of necessity. And you certainly aren’t in any place to tell the giver what you expect. And yet I often hear the sad story followed by a list of demands. What have we done as givers that the receivers set the terms?
As Christians we are instructed to work for the good of all. All people should be able to expect good work from Christians, not just those in their fellowship, but no one should expect to define for Christians what good is. And no one ought to instruct Christians what “social justice” is, since it is God who invented Justice.
This holiday season as occasions arise, do good. Do what will help someone know the love of God in Christ. Do what Jesus would do in extending His love, but also his good into the lives of others. As a Christian you don’t have to accept what others think is good. Only God defined what is good. You have an obligation to share that good with others. It doesn’t always giving as the world thinks it is. Sometimes it’s not giving when you know it enables a bad behavior. Sometimes you have to give blind. It happens. But let God be the judge of that person and not you for withholding a kindness. I know. It’s confusing.
Take and study this passage. Take the time to understand it. But also practice it. A good word in your heart alone is useless.