Doing good and doing it right
We know what we are supposed to do: to be kind and do good things. And we are also clear on who is to benefit: our neighbour. But why? Crucial for a good result is our motivation. Five good and five not so good motivations from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” This was the Bible text the Chief Apostle used in Kindu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 21 July 2018.
How not to do it
A child of God has been called to do good, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider said in explaining the Bible text. However, the point is not to serve human beings but God. The Chief Apostle said that man’s actions are not to be shaped by human considerations, and cited some negative examples.
- Following the opinion of the majority instead of divine laws. “We don’t say, it is okay, because everybody does it. The only thing we are interested in is what Jesus has to say about it.”
- Following people instead of serving Jesus. “What we do for the Lord we do not do in order to please the Apostle or our rector. We respect God’s servants, we love them, but they are only tools.”
- Seeking glory for ourselves. “We do not do good in order to shine before mankind and be admired. This is something that Jesus strictly rejected.”
- Acting out of self-interest. Many do good things in the expectation that the same will be done for them should they ever find themselves in need. “Don’t merely act because it might be to your advantage.”
- Showing partiality. “We preach the gospel and are kind to those around us irrespective of whether people see it or not, whether they love us or not, or whether they deserve it or not.”
Doing it right
If what really matters to us is our relationship with God, then our conduct and actions will have the best possible basis, the Chief Apostle said.
- Gratitude. “Why do we do good things? We do it for the Lord because He has promised us a wonderful legacy: eternal life, the possibility to be with God forever.”
- Constancy. Neither ingratitude nor a lack of interest by our fellow human beings should prevent us from doing good. “Even if no one else pays attention to the good you do, you did it for the Lord. And He is aware of it.”
- A pure heart. “The Lord not only sees what we do, but He also sees why we do it. It is a great concern of mine that we really serve out of love for the Lord, with a pure heart, and without any ulterior motives.”
- Reverence. “We have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. We have been given the promise that Jesus will return in order to take us with Him. There are a thousand more reasons to do good things.”
- Humility. “The Lord asks us to be kind to our neighbour … We would like to choose who should benefit from our kindness. But the Lord tells us: ‘No, no, that’s up to me. The neighbour is the person I have put next to you.’”
“I am aware that there is still a lot of work to be done, for we are all human. And here and there our motivation leaves something to be desired. Let’s correct it,” Chief Apostle Schneider said.
His summary. “We have been called to do good. We do not do it for our own benefit, but out love for the Lord. We serve God with constancy, humility, and reverence—and without any hypocrisy.”