Sunday, 17 November 2013

Don't Tire of Doing Good

In 2 Thessalonians chapter 3, verse 13 we read – Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.  Here is a great bit of encouragement to us to do all those things which we ought to be doing.  Here is the challenge to engage with others as we should, and it works on every level from the global to the individual.

Of course, this can be big stuff, and there is a risk that we don’t respond because we think it is all beyond us.  Thank God for those who, like Desmond Tutu, have engaged with the evils and challenges of racism.  Thank God for those who, like Mother Teresa, have been ready to care for the desperately poor.  Thank God for those who, like William Wilberforce, were willing to challenge the very fabric of society and contribute towards essential change.  But, though most of us won’t reach such dizzy heights, that doesn’t mean we are not to bother about such things.  All the little bits that we can do build into things that can really make a difference.  There is still a long way to go but movements like Jubilee 2000, Make Poverty History and Fair Trade have done a great deal of good.  And it is not just because someone has had a vision, important though that was.  It is because lots and lots of people have jumped on the bandwagon.  Don’t be afraid of jumping on bandwagons.  Just make sure you are on the right one.

And, of course, there are many other things we can say here.  We know that life is full of unsung heroes and I always rejoice greatly that Christians are invariably in the forefront of those who make a difference.  We are all called to do our little bit.  We are all called to contribute to the building of God’s Kingdom.

In terms of what Jesus said, this is about walking second miles, giving away second coats, offering other cheeks, even loving enemies.  When we talk in such terms, is a timely reminder of what God expects of us.  God’s love for us is beyond words – and he calls us to respond to that by engaging with all sorts of things that make for a better society. 

For us this might be about making that phone call, writing that letter.  It might be about doing something for Christian Aid, whether that’s making a donation or doing something else to raise awareness or money.  It might be offering a helping hand in all sorts of ways. 

Don’t get tired of doing good.  We couldn’t possibly quibble with the sentiment – and yet I think that there are at least two places it may take us.  On the one hand it is good to do good.  It makes me feel good.  I like feeling that I have done something worthwhile.  I like helping people in a whole range of ways.  But, on the other hand, I do get tired of it sometimes.  Don’t you?  I just want to hide away and do my own thing.  I get fed up doing good.  Of course, I know I shouldn’t.  But I want a break.  But God always pushes us that bit further and, in the end, I am grateful for that.

And maybe, just maybe, if we all do a chunk of what we should, we’ll move things just a tiny bit closer to that place reflected in the word picture that Isaiah paints – where the wolf and the lamb shall feed together and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

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