Many thousands of dollars are given to charitable organizations each year, and hopefully most are used for worthy causes. Countless hours are spent working on helpful entities, but unless money and work are done to honor God, all is in vain as far as heaven’s rewards.
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the Pharisees boasted about their good works, but Jesus knew their works were not to honor God but for self-praise. Based on certain scriptures for our works to be acceptable, they must be done to honor God only and not for selfish reasons.
From early childhood selfishness has been man’s worst enemy. Babies cry for attention and after given attention, cry for more attention. If honest, most of us never completely overcome this sin, and as the result much of our lives is about me and mine.
Jesus taught that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves and gave the meaningful example of the Good Samaritan. But do we really place the interest of our neighbor on the same level as self?
For whom do we buy gifts at Christmas? To whom do we spend hours in the kitchen preparing meals for Thanksgiving? Do we love other children as much as our grandchildren?
My intention is not to be critical but realistic. It grieves me that when rewards are offered in heaven, I may face my Lord empty handed. Hopefully a few deeds will have been accomplished completely out of unselfish love.
The greatest leaders, preachers, and teachers become discouraged when no one offers them words of encouragement. Even Paul became discouraged and wrote: “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired of life. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves. that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1: 8-9. Many other passages could be given if space allowed.
If our works are to honor God, they can not be of the flesh listed in Galatians 5: 19-21. “But fruit of the Holy Spirit are: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, and temperance.”
Father, may each believer’s life produce good works, and may our work be done out of love and unselfishness to honor You. Thanks in Jesus’ Name for giving us work to do and grace to do it. Amen.