Monday, July 20, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: Be A Do-Gooder
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:13-15 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.
I have a question running through my mind this morning. It deserves some contemplation. It requires an answer. Here’s the query – How does the world know that I’m a follower of Jesus?
The first response that comes to my mind is that they know I’m a Christian because I say that I am. But the people of the world are more discerning than that. For example, no matter how much I told people I was a Viking fan, no one would believe me if I consistently wore Packers jerseys. The truth is, activity validates claims.
For the third time now in his letter, Peter challenges each one of us to show the validity of our faith through the activity of doing good. And he’s not done telling us to do good. He will say it one more time a couple of verses from now. Let’s review:
- Peter told all of us to be good citizens of our countries by submitting to the authorities over us, and to do good. When the government is corrupt, the good deeds of God’s people will silence foolish men. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. (2:15)
- He challenged us as employees to do good even when we had bosses who were harsh. But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. (2:20)
- In today’s passage, he encourages us to do good within the context of our everyday lifestyles with people. Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. (3:13-14)
The Apostle Paul has a similar challenge for us in Galatians 6, where he says, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Unfortunately, many of us have an underlying aversion to doing good. Our very nature – the flesh – is selfish and prideful and has convinced us that we are weak if we do good for anyone other than self. We resent being called a do-gooder. In fact, our own Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines a do-gooder as ``an earnest usually impractical and often naive and ineffectual humanitarian or reformer.” For an excellent article on this, read William Coplin’s Why Do Americans Shun The Label “Do-Gooder?” at http://www.commondreams.org/views/022000-105.htm.
But doing good is what Jesus was all about, and He certainly wasn’t weak. When Peter was in the home of Cornelius, bringing the Good News of Jesus to the Gentiles for the first time, he described Jesus this way –
You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached—how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. (Acts 10:37-38)
The validation of God’s presence in the life of Jesus was the activity of doing good. It is the same for us today. We prove the love of God by loving others. We prove the goodness of God by doing good to others. We proclaim the grace of God by showing grace to others. By this the world will know that we are followers of Jesus – because we love one another.
Some of my fondest memories of childhood are the songs that my mom and dad used to sing in church. God uses them to refocus my heart when it is needed. I remember the first cantata I ever heard in our church as a boy, and I remember the song that stuck out to me. It was from John W. Peterson’s “No Greater Love”, and the song was called He Went About Doing Good. Let the lyrics bring you to a point of greater understanding of the Scriptural truth that we are to be like Jesus and be do-gooders.
When our Lord was here, Our Savior dear,
He gladdened each neighborhood;
For the Bible tells, the message spells,
He went about doing good.
It was love revealed when the lame He healed,
The blinded ones made to see;
When He raised the dead, the hungry fed,
The demon possessed set free.
He went about doing good,
And helping where’er He could;
Our example is He, and like Him we should be,
Who went about doing good.
Follow the example of Jesus, and be a do-gooder.