I was out other night at the Contented Cow with a few of my brothers, taking the opportunity to get together and talk about our favorite subject, the Word. There is always a topic that seems to stick around afterwards, and this was no exception. This night it was good works. And sheep. And goats. Ouch.
For example, when was the last time you helped the poor? Frankly I can't remember the last time I have done so. Sure I have been to a big city in days past and given cash to someone on the street. But is getting held up at a stop light and giving a buck to some guy that 'washes' your windshield helping the poor? Throwing a few coins in a guitar case? The fact is I don't even know if they were actually poor or not. For all I know they went home to a warm house and full meal. I sure hope they did, but the the point is that we can't do good deeds - we don't even know what the real effect of our actions will be. Giving a few bucks to someone may buy them a bottle of something, or it could buy a hot meal - we often don't know.
Works that spring from true faith always work as the Lord intends - the ultimate outcome is that they will be good and we may never even be aware that we are doing them. For Matthew writes in his gospel "
There is much talk these days about community service, and at work we are getting mauled with our latest United Way campaign. Sometimes I wonder if our productivity at this time of year doesn't plummet with all the activities surrounding this. But that is a topic for another day. Those that contribute are they sheep - or goats? Side by side they can do the same things, though one is thrown in the fire and the other justified by the faith that produces these same works. Thus it isn't the deed but the source that makes the work good. Trust in the Lord - for He is good.