Sparks from the Gospel Anvil: Doing good helps others, self

Resolutions 2017

“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about DOING GOOD, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”

Acts 10:38 King James Version

I want to focus on those two words as far as resolutions go at this time of year. It seems that all of us in the United States of America are focused on making New Year’s resolutions when it comes to everything but our spirituality.

Of course, there are some who focus on reading the entire Bible for the year, which is fantastic and even better when memorized, but as King David once said, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” (Psalm 119:11), have we hidden His Word in our heart? The late Gipsy Smith once said, “What makes the difference is not how many times you have been through the Bible, but how many times and how thoroughly the Bible has been through you.”

Also, there are a numerous amount of people who want to pray more in the New Year, which is also great resolution, but the Lord Jesus Christ did tell us, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6) and you know if you want God to hear your prayer when you are on your knees, you’ve got to live Him when you’re on your feet. What I mean by that is there are so many Christians in town who seemed to do only those two things. Don’t get me wrong, but didn’t Jesus also say, “the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

It is in this that we can go back to the two words at the beginning verse and see it says that Jesus went about DOING GOOD. Now it does not mean just doing something because it makes me feel good; it’s sacrificial, not selfish. I think of the brief rules of life that the founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley, had to say,

Do all the good you can,

by all the means you can,

in all the ways you can,

in all the places you can,

at all the times you can,

to all the people you can,

as long as ever you can.

Real spirituality in action is to stoop down and lift up the person who is down. Too many people within the Church think that being a Christian is to be saved and satisfied. The true Christian is not like that, as one of our motto’s in The Salvation Army is that we are “Saved to Serve.” Think about it, we can all do something. There are many who are at our doors who are hungry for love. The world is a very lonely place for some. Even among the crowds sometimes our hearts cry out for somebody that will understand us. A good word of love, a kind act of compassion whether it is serving dinner, going to a neighbor’s house to pray for them, showing sympathy, forgiveness — it is all of these things that the world craves today! 

There are some who have said to me, “Lieutenant you are too tenderhearted.” Can one be too tender? Are we not followers of the Compassionate One, who wept over the dead and died of a broken heart? All He did was done because He loved. Jesus said, “I must work,” and if you have His Spirit, can you be selfish and idle and sit on the fence? No, a thousand times no! We are not here to sit idle and not do something for our neighbors. 

Jesus said that there were two commandments in which hung all the Law and the Prophets, “Love the Lord Thy God, with all thy heart, soul, and mind, which is the first and greatest commandment; and to LOVE your neighbor as you LOVE yourself.” 

You may say today, “What can I do?” Do something, begin in your own home, speak lovingly, act gently. Serve those who are near you, father, mother, brother, sister, aunt or uncle. Deny your own self will and rights for their GOOD, do not seek all the good for yourself. Always be willing to show love to others. Yes, this does include discernment, to know when people are trying to pull a fast one on you, or to pull the wool over your eyes, but we still can do something!

You may not be a preacher, but you can be a reacher. You may not be a singer, but you can be a bringer. Andrew never became as famous as his brother, Peter, who he brought into the presence of Christ, but I think he had as much to do with the conversion of those 3,000 people after Pentecost as his brother did, because he brought Him to Jesus. And that is what it is all about! Are we bringing people to Jesus, through your random acts of kindness?

When others smile why shouldn’t I smile, too,

If others weep my tears may help them through;

If I can help a person when their down,

Am I to stand to the side and risk God’s frown?

No, I’ll be ready with smiles, tears and kindly deeds,

Ever ready to help those with needs,

Knowing that when my earthly task is run

My Saviour will reward me with “Well Done.” 

(Gipsy Simon Smith 1929)

Charles Smith is a captain with Muskogee's Salvation Army.

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