Ready for every good work

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2 ESV).

Sometimes, even in the midst of terrible tragedies, things happen that reinforce one’s faith in people. Perhaps I should have said “especially in the midst of tragedies” because it is the response of Christians to victims of disaster that has prompted the above thought.

In my experience when earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, terrorist attacks, and hurricanes cause great devastation over large areas there is an almost immediate surge of generous giving to those who are suffering. And no one seems to give more quickly or more generously than God’s people – Christians.

This is exactly as it should be, in fact it is exactly the way Jesus designed his Church to be. Paul described it in Titus 3:1 when he instructed the young evangelist to train his audience to be, among many other things, “ready for every good work.”

Some claim that it is natural for humans to be selfish. Yes, we often see selfish and egocentric attitudes displayed. There is more than a little “me-first-itis” in virtually all societies. Yet generous helpfulness is also abundantly evident. Jesus encourages us to nurture that impulse and to stand always alert for opportunities to give (not just offer) assistance:

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Matthew 10:40-42).

The phrase good works may relate to any number of beneficial activities. In the New Testament, however, these words especially refer to acts of benevolence towards the needy (Galatians 6:9-10; Hebrews 13:16).

Christians are never told to wait until someone asks for our help, but rather to always be alert for opportunities to practice love (1 John 3:17-18). That is why it is so encouraging and appropriate to have strangers call after a disaster and ask, “We want to help, how do we go about it?” God’s people really are ready for good works. Thank God for them.

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