Do good. It’s not a phrase that we hear often. But it’s one that was repeated often in the scriptures. Ephesians 2:10 ESV says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We were created for good works, for doing good to others. That is our purpose and God’s desire. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
2 Thessalonians 3:13 says, “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” And Hebrews 13:16 says, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Are we getting the picture? Over and over again we are told to do good to one another.
Perhaps a different way to put this is, don’t be greedy with the many ways you can bless others. The word “good” is intentionally broad. There are literally a million ways that we can do good to one another. We can mow a lawn or rake leaves. We can drop off groceries to the hungry family. We can pray with those who are struggling. We can lend an ear to people whose lives are in tatters. We can put gas in someone’s car. The sky is the limit. But whatever good we do, we should point people to Jesus Christ. As Paul said, “in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Yesterday Thom Rainer published a blog titled Six Reasons Your Pastor Is About to Quit. As a preacher, the title caught my attention. Thom Rainer has been gathering statistics and has consulted with churches for decades and is one of the most respected statisticians on church trends. In the article, Thom says, “The vast majority of pastors with whom our team communicates are saying they are considering quitting their churches. Itâ€™s a trend I have not seen in my lifetime.” This ought to make us pay close attention. This is happening right now, at unprecedented rates.
As I read the reasons why these ministers are considering quitting, it became abundantly clear that their churches are incredibly on edge, worried, and angry. The assumption from church members is that their preachers are sitting around enjoying a vacation while the rest of the country suffers. Additionally, churches are dividing over what rules to follow to keep members physically safe. Ironically, while they divide over how to keep physically safe, there is a rapid spiritual decline. Christians are shouting, pointing fingers, and acting ugly. This is in stark contrast of what the Bible clearly teaches.
Romans 12 is one of my favorite chapters in the New Testament. I spent two years preaching themes from Romans 12. Paul is blunt and uses clear directives: “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9 ESV). Compare that to the way many Christians are attacking one another. Romans 12 is pregnant with references to how we should position ourselves towards one another: “Outdo one another in showing honor, contribute to the needs of the saints, live in harmony with one another, never be wise in your own sight, do what is honorable in the sight of others, live peaceably with all, never avenge yourselves” (Romans 12:13-19).
Now is the best time for Christians to turn this around. We can either complain about the evil and problems, or we can do something about it. For Paul, there is no question what he is asking of the Roman church: “Do not be overcome evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
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