Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. I Timothy 6:18-19.
Good works — easy for some, more difficult for others. This scripture was written to Timothy while he was pastoring in Ephesus. Ephesus was a very affluent city, so it only stands to reason that Timothy’s congregation comprised some rich believers. Paul instructed Timothy to teach them how to use their riches for God’s kingdom. Have you ever dreamed of receiving an unexpected inheritance? Have you daydreamed about how you would spend it? If that should happen, Paul left us some good and wonderful advice in these scriptures.
So does that leave us those of us off the hook, if we do not have a hefty bank account? I think not. For wealth is always a comparison, isn’t it? That phrase “be rich in good works” set in motion a lot of thoughts this week. So how do we do that? We start where we are, following the Holy Spirit’s prompts to do good. He loves to work through us to help others. I have often been on the receiving end of good works towards me and my family. It was humbling and so helpful. It makes me want to pay it forward. Looking back, sometimes, I wish I could have expressed my appreciation more thoroughly! Everyone who helped me during Darryl’s stroke recovery and eventual passing, I thank you, once again. Your loving actions helped get us through a hard time.
This week, I followed those prompts and what a blessing it was! A young couple in our church just had their fourth baby. Before he was born, I promised to bring a meal. I’ve been waiting because I knew there were others who had planned on helping as well, but this was the week. As I just followed the Spirit’s prompts, I watched how expertly He brought so much joy to us both. (I am sharing this not to boast, because the ideas weren’t mine!) He picked the type of soup Chicken Psoloe Verde); small gifts for the siblings (homemade play dough) and a candle for the mom. What a joy to discover that the three different colored play dough I made were their favorite colors! And the mom had been wanting to purchase a candle that very day, but chose not to! When she was eating the meal, she said, “I think green chili flavor is my comfort food!”. I marvel at how specifically the Spirit led me. When we take the time to ask Him, He shows us what to do. I admit, I don’t know who was more blessed—them or me! Again, I am not sharing this for a pat on the back, I am just sharing it to encourage us all to increase our good works.
One benefit of seeking the Lord in this area is that it gets our eyes off ourselves. No matter what your income or lack thereof, we can still offer a prayer or a word of encouragement. It costs us nothing, but can reap much fruit. We must be willing to share what we have, much or little. I read in a story about Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian Christian who imprisoned for his faith (during the Communism take over), still found a way to be generous. Every tenth week, he and other believers gave their one slice of bread a week to the weaker brethren as a “tithe” to the Master. How I might have justified eating it myself! He wrote a book Tortured for Christ and founded the ministry “Voice for the Martyrs”. If you see yourself as the “needy” one, then it will be a struggle to look past what you feel you don’t have and rejoice in what you do have.
Often it is the small promptings that, when followed, bring God’s blessing. It means surrendering our time, treasure and talent to Him and His purposes. If you don’t have money, then give your time. We find in II Timothy, Paul writing about a man named Onesiphorus. May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me. May the Lord show him special kindness of the day of Christ’s return. And you know very well how helpful he was in Ephesus. He and his family were kind to Paul. Rome was a little over 800 miles from Ephesus, but he made the journey. Maybe Onesiphorus was one of the wealthy men Paul talked about, so he could afford to make the journey. We don’t know, but we do know his actions encouraged Paul.
As we allow the love of God to be enlarged in our heart, it is not hard to reach out to others. We love, because we were first loved. Make good note of those who have encouraged you in your life. Don’t take it for granted, but receive their love with grace. But it is not about us, it is about others. Let’s follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings to help others and thereby being an example of God’s love. Open your eyes and see where you can serve in your local church, in your community or neighborhood. The needs are great, but not too great if we follow His promptings.
Father, I thank you for this admonition. I ask that you help us follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings to help others and sow seeds of kindness that we know will reap in your good season. No matter the response of the receiver, we will still strive to listen to your promptings and be obedient. In Jesus’ Name, amen.