We sometimes think we need to scurry around searching for good works to do in order to feel like we are being faithful, fruitful Christians. But consider this verse: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
You yourself are God’s good work! He made you and said it was good. Not only that, He enables you to imitate Him in good works. He has already prepared you for specific good works, and He has prepared the good works for you. That means you can walk by faith, and do the next thing in front of you. Do the kids need a snack? That’s a good work for sure. Does your neighbor need to borrow your phone? Does your husband need a clean shirt? You get the idea. You are not to despise these little, mundane good works while looking for more glamorous ones. You are to simply do the next thing which God has graciously prepared for you to do. You walk in those good works. You must not long for the good works that He has prepared for other people. Yours are custom-designed for you by a good and loving Father.
Good works are fruit. They are the result of who we are in Christ; we cannot produce them if we are bramble bushes. If we are in Christ, we are a new creation; the old has passed away and the new has come. When He transforms us from bramble bushes to apple trees, fruit is the natural result. The Spirit in us causes us to produce good works.
Much of this fruit-bearing comes as part of our daily duties, but there is another category of good works that may occur to you from time to time. You may know someone who has a heavy load, and you think, ” I should drop her a note.” Or you may know of someone who needs encouragement and you think, “I should fix her a meal or take her cookies or give her a phone call.” These are the good works that we might be tempted to brush off because they are not right in front of us with a hungry look. But we ought to take heed to these suggestions and follow through with as many as are feasible. These may also be some of the good works that God has ordained for us. We have the resources because He has equipped us to do them, and He has prepared these things in advance particularly for us.When something occurs to you, do it whenever possible.
In 1 Timothy 5:9-10, we are given a list of the good works widows are to be known for if they are going to be added to the church’s support list. These are not flamboyant good works. They are the kind of things we don’t have to go looking for: brought up children, lodged strangers, washed the saints’ feet, relieved the afflicted, and “diligently followed every good work.” I’m pretty sure that last one includes baking chocolate chip cookies.
This list is not what we might necessarily think of: Bringing up children is a good work? Yes, indeed it is. So is babysitting. (Now as a side note to those of you who want to bring up children, but the Lord has not given you any to bring up, consider this: God has prepared good works in advance for you to walk in. If He has not given you children, He most certainly has other good works prepared for you. You may be able to excel in hospitality and relieve the afflicted. Whatever your portion, give thanks to the good God who has ordained it to be so.)
Putting people up in your home is a good work. We don’t wash a lot of feet these days, but we can still take our guests’ coats and offer them a drink and make them feel welcome. We can organize meals for the sick, and send cards to the grieving. We can do all kinds of stuff like this. This kind of good work is what qualifies us to be “known for good works.”
As you walk through this day, consider what God has given you. Be excited and expectant to see what good things He has planned for you to do. Walk in them by faith, and offer them all to Him as a sweet sacrifice of praise.