In the Gospel according to Matthew chapter five, Jesus gives the sermon on the mount. He doesn’t lay out your best life now, he doesn’t say follow me and your life is going to be easy. Instead, he points to a blessing that comes when the pain sets in, a blessing that requires faith; the blessing is fulfilled when you are dead. That is how Jesus begins, and still at the beginning, he goes on to talk about being the salt of the earth, and a frightening thing that happens to salt when it loses its saltiness; it gets tossed out and trampled on. But he goes on to say that they are the light of the world and it is here that I want to focus.
“Let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
That quote above is from Jesus lips. It isn’t specific. It is as broad as the human race. It gives you room to breath. It gives you room to do what God has made you to do. You could be an athlete, artist, or a small business owner. Good work. Don’t you love that. It doesn’t say when you have sacrificed, or when you have memorized the bible, or it doesn’t say when you have dedicated your life to the poor. No, it says good works. That means if you have a crumby job you do your best to serve people and that counts. It means that you keep writing your fiction and it might have nothing to do with being Christian, but someone thanks God that you wrote that book. It means that you paint and express yourself and maybe it moves someone to say I thank God for her, she touches my soul. It means the heart with which you work, the excellence you try to produce, the good you do, do it knowing that it was a gift from God through you to others.
The business woman supplies jobs so people can have honorable work and purpose. The dancer expresses the beauty of God’s creation. The musician gives our hearts the words our souls long to sing. The construction worker houses many. The plumber serves in the most desperate situation. The lawyer should seek justice. The mother chooses to raise a better generation of humanity. The teacher is a gift who gives his or her life to help families grow in knowledge and a profitable future. Let your good work shine. Don’t hide it and don’t hide the fact that God has given you this task, in this time. Above all of that do not put your hope in it. Work will not put you in God’s favor. Being good, will do nothing for you, God gives us a heart to do good, but there are those whose hearts are in it to justify themselves. Jesus knew he was going to die. He knew that the good works of men weren’t in faith to God, but a way to try and twist the hand of God. They did not love the Lord, but instead wanted to use their good lives as a you owe me, like they could put God in their pocket. It doesn’t work that way. God disdains that kind of “good work” as a lie. Jesus died on the cross to reconcile us to God. In doing that we don’t have to worry about doing good things to be good. We don’t need God in our pocket, in fact, we want to be safe in God’s pocket. When Jesus began the sermon all of the blessings had to do with how we treated one another. The last one had to do with us being rejected and persecuted for believing in Jesus, then he talks about being a light. When Jesus calls us it isn’t to live our best life now. It is to enjoy the glory of God. It is to experience true life. So it is pointless to fake doing good work, you miss the joy of people getting to know Jesus, or of thanking God that you could be part of something bigger.
I sat down to write about putting our faith into action, into being a light, into doing good work. When we create we build culture, we create new things, if we care enough, we make a new thing that helps others and that it is a good thing. I sat down to say your creativity and faith are partners that if done with the right heart bring glory to God and joy to you. But as I continued on I realized that faith, true faith is the joy of doing good. It is the blessing here and now. It is the communion with the Holy Spirit of God moving in us and through us pointing to Our Father in Heaven. Jesus made that possible through dying for our sins and reconciling us to God, adopting us into His family by becoming human. I am going to stop there, because if I don’t I will write about how amazing that is until my body gives out.
Do good works and enjoy the good things God has prepared for you to do.