Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:15-16.
Jesus was a Jew the last time I checked. Something I have noticed about the Jewish community is the number of good works and the excellence with which they are done–have you noticed? For the percentage of population they have an incredible number of nobel prize winners, inventions that benefit mankind, pioneering medical techniques, philanthropic things they do…they shine. Then I saw an article about a nine year old girl who had made some kind of contribution to her community. They made a big deal of it; wrote it up in the newspaper, put it on TV and she was a celebrity!
So what is good works all about? Here is what I found: “Good deed” Greek — Kalos–It means to be beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable
a) beautiful to look at, shapely, magnificent
b) good, excellent in its nature and characteristics, and therefore well adapted to its ends
1) genuine, approved
3) joined to names of men designated by their office, competent, able, such as one ought to be
4) praiseworthy, noble
c) beautiful by reason of purity of heart and life, and hence praiseworthy (morally good, noble)
d) honourable, conferring honour
e) affecting the mind agreeably, comforting and confirming
And then my Israeli friend said that “it also means doing what the law (Torah) says to do as well as good deed. We have 613 laws = 613 mitzvot. Each law you perform is a good deed, as well as…. whatever the local culture dictates as a good deed. I have been titling my blogs God Thoughts–He is always thinking good thoughts toward us and working on our behalf to better us, make us more noble, morally honorable, praiseworthy, etc.!
Who would not want that heaped upon their head?! But the thing that gets me is that this whole concept of doing good works–something that will build up, enhance and otherwise benefit all–is both caught and taught. Children see their parents being creative in finding yet another way to fulfill a law that benefits everyone, chalking up yet another “mitzvot.” Children hear of people doing some great deed and see the admiration in the faces of people in their community as they speak of the people who did the deed and the deed itself. They ask about it and they are told. That is how culture is transmitted–we catch it; we get the idea–and we are intentionally taught.
What impresses me is how pervasive it is within the Hebrew culture, mindset, and way of thinking that even children look for ways they can impact their society in a positive way. Now that is what Jesus was talking about when He gave the sermon on the mount! We are to do our good deeds so that people will see and give glory to God! If we are to be a driven people, let us give Jesus the reins–let us look for those things that build up, edify, strengthen and make beautiful, morally good and noble, be honoring, and affect the mind agreeably; that are comforting….
That is what I believe the Lord wants me to be doing with the writing I do; to somehow impact the people who read what I write to build them up, enlarge their capacity and strengthen their inner being so that they are enabled to function at optimum capacity according to their original design! I believe that by publishing my writing I am putting my lamp on a stand and it will give light to all in the room. Wha Hoo!
So, all you Christ followers–onward and forward! Let the good works roll, and with excellence. Do what you do best and do it supurbly. I would love to hear your glory story. Let’s talk about it; let’s tell of the great deeds and the small deeds! Don’t even begin to think you are bragging. Just tell us what happened and we will make a fuss over you, pat you on the back, admire your creativity, determination and courage, and we will give God the glory. Sounds like fun to me!