As Christians, we are admonished to be good examples in all that we do. Matt. 5:16 says, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” We also read in James 2:15-17, “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” And then again in verse 24, “You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” We are definitely instructed to not only believe in Christ Jesus, but also act on those beliefs and do good works.
What then is the best way to show our good works and represent Jesus in the community? Let us look to our best example, Jesus, for the answer. Jesus did not join any special groups or organizations to better serve his Father in heaven. Instead, he worked with his companions, the apostles, as he preached the good news, performed miracles and encouraged all those he encountered. Jesus was constantly out in the community doing his Father’s work, but he never tried to promote himself. In fact, there were times he did many of his good deeds as quietly as possible such as healing the leper in Mark 1:40-44. Even after performing marvelous miracles, he did not seek out attention. Jesus did many good works but did not do it to glorify himself or to gain stardom, but rather to glorify his Father. His mission was to preach the good news of the Kingdom and to show forth the love of God.
We are warned to not be like the Pharisees in Matthew 23:5 where “everything they do is done for people to see.” Instead we are told in Matthew 6:1, ““Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them,” and then in verses 3 and 4, “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Volunteering one’s time for a specific charity or group can be beneficial and worthy, because indeed, a lot of good work can be accomplished when people work together! However, we have to be careful to give humbly and quietly only if it does not interfere with what God wants from us. We are to use our time and talents in His service first and foremost. Yes, we are to love our neighbor as our self, but Jesus tells us that the first and greatest commandment is to, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37,38
In summary, we are to help those who are in need, but by following Christ’s example. We should not help others for self-gain or to be praised, but should do it to glorify God. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” Colossians 3:23