The gift of work to do at God’s request
Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (NASB)
Now, at first blush this may seem quite contrary to the previous verse of being saved by faith alone… but really it is not. It is actually an affirmation of the previous verse.
Do you know that God has something for you to do today? He has ordained it. Good works… not for our benefit… and not even so that we will earn our salvation… but a project, a deed, a word to speak, a hug to give, a stack of dishes to wash, a bed to make or a prayer to offer… Yes, God can rearrange circumstances so that these works, these tasks that we do in His name, could come from someone else, but He delights when we do them, because, by doing them in His name, our faith is built up. And we are then drawn into a deeper relationship with the Father.
Let us not forget that Jesus did good works… even when it was considered unlawful to do so!
“Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.” (Mark 3:1-6 NIV)
The Pharisees didn’t know what to do with a law-breaker like Jesus when he performed good works.
When we do good works, this is what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Feeding the poor. Handing out a water bottle to someone in the park on a hot day. Building a wheelchair ramp. Cleaning up a widow’s yard overgrown with weeds and shrubs. Loving our neighbor.
But, please be careful. Many well intentioned folks will tell you that your good works will earn you a special place in heaven. Only God’s grace and unconditional love grants us access.
And do you know that the word “workmanship” means that we are God’s masterpieces? He is Creator. We are the created ones. Lovely. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Works of art. The best we showcase God the creator, God the artist is to do the good works that He for us to do. So, let’s do them! Out of love for the Creator. Out of love for the ability, the gift, of doing them so that His kingdom is increased.
So, roll up those sleeves and get going. You have work to do! Receive this gift joyfully… the gift of work to do on God’s behalf.
Father God, let us be your hands and your feet today. Let us love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us do good works in your name. Not because it will benefit us, but so that You may be glorified and so that Your Kingdom will come on this earth. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
(c) 2011 Rich Ronald