Hebrews 13:16: Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
We’re continuing with our Monday focus on behaviors we can practice throughout the week, a particularly good exercise during the season of Lent. Last week, we focused on the first rule for traditional Methodist living, do no harm.
This Monday, we move to the second very simple rule: Do good.
Be an active Christian, not a passive one. In our daily living, we should be making the world more like the kingdom of heaven. This sounds like a simple assertion, but if we are not intentional about doing good, we will miss many opportunities.
We do good in a couple of basic ways. We of course need to relieve suffering. When the kingdom of heaven is fully present, Christ’s work on the cross will be complete, and suffering and death will come to an end.
A good guideline for identifying those who suffer begins at Matthew 25:31, which recounts the scene of judgment Jesus gave us. We of course are dependent on God’s grace to be saved, but it’s also clear that salvation is supposed to change us so we do good, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Righteousness in Christ is identifiable by how we treat the least among us: the hungry and the thirsty, the vulnerable strangers we encounter, those lacking the basics for living, the sick, and the imprisoned.
You are invited to spend the week considering how you might do good toward these people, and then follow through. I would suggest we start as close to home as possible and then work out from there, considering our church family, our community, and then beyond.
If you’ll look at the larger context surrounding today’s Bible verse, you will see Jesus’ teachings embedded there. You also will see that our acts of good are a response to the great act of good Jesus performed on the cross, overcoming sin and death for us.
That larger context reminds us of our second big opportunity to do good. Tell the story of Jesus Christ to people needing to hear it. Our willingness to do so may be the difference between eternal life and eternal death for someone.
Again Lord, let our eyes see and our ears hear what you would have us do. Amen.