For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)
Some time ago, a young Christian friend asked me the “Big Question.”
You know: “Why? What’s our purpose in this life?”
Could it be the answer is just as simple as that verse above? That we are indeed put here to do good works?
When asked about the most important commandment, Jesus answered:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 ESV)
If we love God, and we love our fellow human beings, wouldn’t our life’s work naturally be to serve Him and those He loves?
I’m not saying that works save us. The verses that precede Ephesians 2:10 make that absolutely clear.
But, it sure seems that even Jesus’ death on the cross was not only the ultimate sacrifice, but the ultimate example to live by. He tells us to take up that cross daily. He tells us to value others more highly than ourselves. And, He sends us on the ultimate mission—to preach the Gospel to the very ends of the earth.
The gospels are filled with Jesus feeding the hungry, healing the sick and the lame, bringing sight to the blind, casting out demons, and even washing the very feet of those who were there to serve Him.
The epistles are full of exhortations not only to lead a holy life, but to care for the widows and orphans, to visit those in prison, to work with our hands, to rejoice with those who rejoice, to weep with those who weep—to be His hands and feet.
As I have written before, the more I read the Bible, the more I come to inescapable conclusion that this life is not all about me. The two greatest commandments don’t even mention me.
Yes, we live in an age where it’s common to hear, “God wants me to be happy.” And, “You can’t love others unless you love yourself.” But, to my way of thinking, true happiness and a true understanding of who I am in God’s eyes seems a lot closer when my relationship with Him is not something I try to grasp, but something that is put into my hand when I hold it out to Him and those He loves.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 ESV)