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 5:16
Not everyone who does a good work does it with good intentions. The Bible has commanded us to obey God and keep His commandments. I know that this is only possible because the gospel has transformed my heart to obey. Our hearts are easily swayed by the praise of men. In this verse Jesus explains to us that the purpose of doing “good works” is not for our benefit. The express purpose of every good work is for the world to see and glorify God. That sounds very elementary, doesn’t it? But yet, so many Christians do not act as if they believe this to be true.
This may surprise you, but the purpose of sharing our faith is not for our church to grow numerically larger. Of course, that is what we all want to happen. We want our church to grow larger and have more people under the influence of the gospel. The purpose of doing good works is so that people will glorify God.
Much evangelism today is done as shady marketing. When a typical person says that they “shared their faith” it usually means they invited someone to their church. Evangelism is not bringing more people to your church – it is bringing people to Jesus. I was caught in this mentality early in my ministry. I thought that doing good works in the community would make our church look good to the lost. I was doing a good work but with bad intentions. I did it for the glory of the church and me as its pastor. God has not commanded us to do good works so others can applaud. He has commanded us to do good works so that others may see Him. This is a radical shift for all our hearts and minds. It is also humbling to think that God can use the “good” I do for Him to save those who believe. This doesn’t mean we don’t do works, but we must check our motives.
A few years ago I let my neighbor borrow my lawn tractor to cut his lawn. I had seen him struggle in the hot Florida sun and decided that I could help him. I offered him the tractor to use at any time that he so needed it. He eventually took me up on the offer and started to use the tractor on his lawn, making his job much easier. I didn’t think much of it, and honestly didn’t have any hidden agenda. I saw a need, and knew that I could help meet it. A few months later, this neighbor was at my doorstep distraught over personal relationship struggles. I was able to speak with him and share the gospel. He believed and was saved. It was an event that forever changed the way I saw good works being played out for God’s glory. The lawn tractor gave me an opportunity to build a bridge. God softened his heart and called him unto salvation. God was glorified through my good works that pointed someone to Christ. How can you have the same impact in your neighborhood? Can God use your generosity to serve as a light to point people to Himself?